“You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.” These words were shared with me years ago by a mentor at work and have since served as my rationalization for a host of questionable words and deeds. For example, I blamed this penchant for adolescent humor when I mispronounced this band’s name as “Flatulator” upon receiving the promo. I also blamed it for the involuntary giggling that followed this mistake. I sincerely apologize to the band for all of this, but after hearing their music, I’m confident that they would heartily agree with my mentor’s nugget of wisdom. After all, their promo material states that they seek to spread the gospel of the “old-school scriptures, when headbangers raised their fists, lifted their left-hand horns, and drank beer.” Their brand of metal is a celebration of the immature and carefree spirit that originally attracted many a band and many a fan to our favorite genre of music in the first place.
Predileção pelo Macabro is the fourth full-length release from Brazilian band Flageladör. They play a potent mix of NWoBHM, thrash and speed metal, and after 18 years in existence, they’ve got the style nailed down. Imagine if Motörhead wrote in Portuguese and played slightly faster and you’ve got a good idea of what they sound like. This is best heard on the opener and “Eternamente Cinza.” They keep things fresh by slowing down with the mid-paced rocker “Queimando nas Chamas do Heavy Metal” and then dialing up the aggression to enter the territory of fellow Brazilians Sepultura on “O Infiel,” “Máxima Voltagem” and “Micromega.” The band’s experience shines through the way they synthesize these familiar and varied elements into an album that sounds cohesive and fresh for the most part.
I approached the title track with trepidation. With only two of the first seven songs surpassing three minutes, I was shocked to see “Predileção pelo Macabro” (“Predilection for the Macabre”) come along touting a length of over eleven minutes. This song accounts for 33.7% of the album’s total runtime. How can it possibly fit in with the rest? It doesn’t really, but since it’s so well executed, it’s not a problem. Obviously inspired by Diamond Head’s “Am I Evil?,” the song is essentially a demonstration of just about everything that is great about 80’s heavy metal. Guitarists Executor and Nightbreaker put on a clinic by beginning with an ominous doomy intro before seamlessly weaving passages of thrash, NWoBHM leads and even a classical solo into a song that never overstays its welcome. I knew “Predileção pelo Macabro” was a winner when I looked forward to it upon every listen.
There are a couple of areas for potential improvement. The instrumental intro track is well done but becomes a throwaway when it ends with a long pause and dumps all the anticipation it worked to build. Executor also handles vocal duties and his delivery is reminiscent of Max Cavalera and can come off as one dimensional at times. This fits Predileção pelo Macabro’s thrashier parts well, and he knows when to take a back seat and let the soaring melodies of the album’s more epic passages shine. However, no less than three songs begin identically with him bellowing the same three syllables before the music cuts in. This is not a deal breaker but is distracting nonetheless. As mentioned above, the inclusion of an eleven minute epic in the middle of a speed metal album can be jarring, but due to the quality, it works. The production is quite raw but is suitable for the style.
While the majority of Predileção pelo Macabro shows that Flageladör have mastered the fun and “immature” spirit of heavy metal, the title track betrays that they also have the technical chops and songwriting ability to be deathly serious if they so desire. I’d love to see what would happen if they expanded upon this more epic style, but on this release, they’ve proven that heads will bang and horns will fly no matter what they decide to do.
DR: 11 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: EU: Helldprod Records | Bandcamp BRA: Vënënö Sönörö Rëcörds and Hell Music
Releases Worldwide: November 2nd, 2018