Let me congratulate you. If you’re reading this, it means you’ve managed to survive “The Great Thrash Drought of 2018.” Thrash is one of my favorite genres in both its single malt and blended-with-other-genre forms, so it was rough having only one album of that style amongst my favorites of last year. There’s just something about the combination of riffs and attitude that makes well-performed thrash untouchable in my book. I’ve been tempted to give in to a sense of hopelessness when it comes to modern day thrash, but rather than relent to this urge, I’ve decided to opt for immersion therapy. I have several thrash promos queued up in hopes that at least one of them will light that fire in my nether regions that only thrash can. Can Spanish band Inferno live up to their name in this regard and start a conflagration down under with their sophomore album Basado en Hechos Reales?
My hopes are nearly dashed as opener “Ruega por Nosotros” opens with a cheesy Gregorian choir and possibly the worst recording of a church bell I’ve ever heard. Just as my head begins to shake in disappointment, the song proper kicks in with an intro that would feel right at home on a Testament album, old or new. There’s something about the way that Juan Manuel Léon fluidly spews his Spanish lyrics over the top of the verse riffs that gets me every time here. His delivery is a combination of Max Cavalera and the lower barks of latter day Chuck Billy, and I find his performance immensely satisfying and perfect for the music. The Testament vibe is a nearly universal theme on Basado en Hechos Reales, with “Espiral de Mentiras“ and closer “Noches sin Tregua” featuring riffs that sound like Eric Peterson wrote them himself. Songs like “Como a Marionetas” and “Sin Domesticar,” the album’s artwork, and the political lyrics (as far as I can tell) combine to give a definite Megadeth feel to the album as well. All these influences are channeled well, creating a pleasingly old school listening experience.
A couple of issues keep Inferno from growing into a full blown wildfire. Many of the songs contain short sections of blast beats, and a few of them fit well like on the verse of “Como a Marionetas.” Many though, like those on “Condenado a Vivar” and “Vuestra Ceguera,” seem to derail the otherwise unique elements of their songs and lend a sense of homogeneity to the album. It’s almost as if the band uses these blast sections as a crutch for their songwriting, and it’s a shame because these songs are good and would be even better without such additions. The other issue here is that whoever plays the guitar solos on this album evidently studied at Wah U under Kirk Hammett. Nearly every solo, while well-played, features that pedal, and this further adds to the unvaried feel on Basado en Hechos Reales.
These concerns aside, there are some real killers here. If “Ruega por Nosotros,” “Apriétate el Bozal,” and “Espiral de Mentiras” don’t cause your thrash glands to swell up, you might want to make an appointment with one of our excellent staff doctors. Guitarists Ángel Bermúdez and Antonio González deserve the award for best performance as they’ve crafted 34 minutes worth of riffs that never once disappointed me. The production feels a bit squashed with the drums sounding underwater at times, and there are a few strange moments where the volume on the guitars suddenly changes (“Como a Marionetas,” “Vuestro Ceguera,” and “Espiral de Mentiras”), but none of this kept me from enjoying the album.
As I write this, Huck N Roll has just released a review for a potential drought-ender with Flotsam and Jetsam‘s latest. I’m hesitant to call Basado en Hechos Reales an end to the drought, but the vocal delivery and riffage certainly make it a satisfying sip that will sustain me until we can finally proclaim that the state of emergency is over. If you’re thirsty for thrash, give this a try. And tune in next week, kids, to see Holdeneye ride across the Spanish border into Portugal as “The Quest for Thrash” continues!