It’s Monday. 8:24 A.M. I pull my Toyota into the Magazine Street parking garage, fifth floor, the only spot in the shade that still has cell phone reception. Aura Noir‘s Out to Die is blasting on the stereo. I pay the parking fee on my mobile app and sigh as I prepare myself for another day at the office. And then, I stop. What if I don’t go in? I think to myself. What if I just turn the car back on and drive away? What if I forget my job and spend the rest of the summer guzzling booze, getting hairy, and banging my fukkin head for the Master in Hell? It seems radical, but a group of people have actually done it. They’re from Portugal, they call themselves Alcoholocaust, and they may have just released the best blackened thrash album of the year.
Given the band name, I originally expected this quintet to revel in cliché, playing generic and sloppy blackened thrash that would probably sound like it was recorded in a dumpster.1 In actuality, this Necro Apocalipse Bestial debut is a terrific album in almost every way. Alcoholocaust‘s music is belligerent and rowdy, barreling forward on rambunctious riffs that often feel fresh while still harboring whiffs of scene forebears. Songs like “Anti-Gótico” (“Anti-Gothic”) and opener “Solução Abismal” (“Abysmal Solution”) show this proudly, employing dive-bombing notes that recall Aura Noir and terrifically crunchy halftime riffs that evoke Sodom. Through it all vocalist “Blasphemator” uses a biting rasp that recalls Vomitor to deliver Portuguese lyrics that (ostensibly) espouse the band’s love of drinking, killing posers, and defying all standards of social decency.
What really makes Apocalipse worthwhile, however, are its great riffs and songs. It’s a good thing I updated my car insurance policy recently, because I’ve been a hazard to other motorists all week from screaming and air drumming along to the glorious chorus of “Speed Metal Tornado.”2 Late highlight “Necro Ritual” adds some variety with a jumpy and sinister melody before erupting into its own addictive chorus that consists of a Deathhammer shriek of the track title. “Patrulha do Thrash” (“Thrash Patrol”) continues to add variety with more melodic verses and some unusual chords, before employing a stomping melody that just makes me want to break a Corona bottle over my head and gouge my eyes out so sight no longer proves a distraction from the sweet riffs my body so desperately needs.
The highlights don’t end there. Penultimate track “Anti-Sóbrio” (“Anti-Sober”) offers a fresh and rollicking dose of blackened speed metal, while “Blasfémia Total” (“Total Blasphemy”) storms along with devilish licks and a galloping pace before hitting a tumbling riff that tumbles right out of the speakers and into my cold black heart. The only track I don’t totally care for is closer “Assalto Metálico” (“Metal Assault”) which feels a bit generic and ends an otherwise awesome album on a somewhat mediocre note. Nonetheless nearly every other one of these ten tracks features at least one notable idea. While there are rarely any slow moments, that’s hardly necessary anyway in an album that’s only 33 minutes long. The production is surprisingly fantastic, with bright and punchy guitars and an overall sound that’s clear and balanced. Littered throughout are delightfully riotous solos that exude the same rocking attitude as the music and make me love Apocalipse all the more.
Necro Apocalipse Bestial doesn’t sound like Power Trip‘s Nightmare Logic, but the two albums do have something in common. Logic was not innovative, but people fell in love with it because every song felt like it was written to be a standout track. Apocalipse is the same way. While a somewhat anticlimactic closer and a couple rote riffs hold it back slightly, this is still a terrific record that fans of Toxic Holocaust, Aura Noir, or even classic South American thrash like Mutilator will enjoy. It’s not surprising that Alcoholocaust have been in the game since 2005, drinking and pissing their way across the globe while honing their craft.3 In the vein of Witchtrap or Gehennah, it seems the band truly live the heavy metal lifestyle they sing about. While I may not have the nads to quit my office job and do the same, at least I have a new blackened thrash album that’s a surefire addition to my collection. As it should be for any fan of the style.
- “Alcoholocaust” was funny when I was 16 and saw a local band play a song of the same name at my first metal show; since then the portmanteau has become tired. Encyclopedia Metallum currently lists 78 different versions of a song called “Alcoholocaust.” ↩
- Or as the band say it, “SPEED! MEH! TAL! TORNADO!” ↩
- As hilariously detailed in the “Drunk History of Alcoholocaust” that accompanied the promo material. ↩