Hello, it’s me. I was wondering if, after all these years ov atmoblack reviews, maybe you’d like to meet something different? After rolling in the deep end of our promo bin’s blackest, mopiest waters for so long, it felt appropriate to set fire to the reign ov black ‘n boo-hoo bands and send my love to a new genre. Portugal’s Besta are about as atmoblack as Adele, so I figured fuck it, let’s give these guys a shot. Rumor has it that change can be healthy, ya know? No? Well, never mind, I’ll find someone — like you, Mark Z — who can appreciate this sweet grindcore album with me.
Grindcore isn’t particularly known for long song lengths in general, but with the longest track (“Porco Azul”) clocking in at 2:33 and the rest hovering around or below 1:30, Eterno Rancor does its violent thing in less time than most EP’s. The crazy thing is that they’re actually doing things with that deceptively minuscule play time — like, a lot of things. For example, “Um Nas Sombas” incorporates some rather excellent death metal sensibilities, while “Porco Azul” goes all death-prog at the end; even the most straightforward grindcore track, “Repúdio Alarmante,” presents itself as something more substantial than a warp speed assault on two or three repeated power chords being shrieked over a blastbeat, instead feeling like a sonic shot of adrenaline and sincerity to the heart, from the heart. Adding to all the excitement, guitarist Rick Chain’s thick, serrated death-metal tone is sure to ententify more than a few pairs of Slugdge sweatpants, instilling the album with an almost God Dethroned sound at times and possibly answering a prayer or two for those among us wishing that there was just a little more Napalm Death in the world.
Amidst and lending strength to all of this aggression is Paulo Rui, whose furious shouts and possessed screams match every bit of Eterno Rancor‘s instrumental intensity. For the most part, Converge‘s Jacob Bannon appears to be Rui’s spirit animal, his screams and growls largely lingering in a hateful middle register, yet this yellmonger is also fond of weaving his way through a variety of violent vocal avenues. Accentuating his core style with the occasional blackened shrieks, guttural death growls and a few explosive registers in between, Rui at once matches and augments the instrumental assault; for all the heaviness contained within Eterno Rancor, you can actually hear each member carrying their weight, the end result being crushing…
…But not crushed! A decent mix which allows each instrument to stand out against and amidst the surrounding collective tumult is the key to Eterno Rancor‘s sonic success. When “Ofício de Mentira” erupts into a writhing contortion of epileptic percussion and seizure-inducing guitar abuse, it’s the listener who gets suffocated, rather than the song itself. Gaza’s bouncy, chunky rage rings through as clearly as if he were slappin’ dat bass directly into the old earballs, just as drummer Lafayette’s stick-slinging psychosis is similarly stupendous at standing out despite swimming in a sea of sonic savagery. Instead of being a brickwalled disaster, Eterno Rancor is a wall of bricks hurled at the listener in 90-second intervals, utterly demolishing the audience and making sure that they feel every last brick. If anything, Rui’s presence is slightly weakened in the mix, yet the muffling effect is admittedly little and ultimately aids the vocals in blending in with the musical tumult, making it tough to consider the fact a detriment at all.
With the myriad subtle intricacies which comprise any given album’s sense of identity, name drops are a
lazy bastard Muppet‘s best friend when attempting to describe the world ov sounds beyond the embedded bit. Eterno Rancor feels as though it were written by Converge amidst a death metal identity not-crisis with slightly proggish leanings, yet this description may not hold up against preview track pipe vision, so I offer you undeserving retches some name drops you can trust: Eterno Rancor is brutal enough for Kronos, and it slams with Viking-like rage worthy of Mark Z. I foresee Ferrous appreciating the buzzing God Dethroned tone, Grymmwald being wistfully sent home to Teethed Glory and Injury, and AMG Himself will hate it because it’s good not NFO. If you’re a loyal grindcore grunt, this one’s for you – especially the shamelessly playful cover of Bad Brains‘ “The Regulator.” If you’re not, check it out anyway: the opening paragraph should give you a good guess as to just how often I listen to grindcore, and it still coaxed a 3.5 out of me, yo.