In their promo blurb, Morbosidad boast that all their lyrics are written in Spanish, a “direct descendant of the Latin tongue spoken by the crucifiers of Jesus.” That alone should tell you everything you need to know about the band, but let’s go ahead and tally up the other clues anyway. Signed to Nuclear War Now? Check. Blasphemous black and white album cover? Check. Often pictured wearing spiked gauntlets? Checkity fucking check, check, check. Turn the distortion to 11 and get out your crumpled Blasphemy shirts, here comes 33 minutes of bestial blackened death metal guaranteed to earfuck you into next week.
But lest you think you’re about to be subjected to a bunch of amateurs who sound more like a washing machine than a proper band, let me quell your worries. This Texas quartet has been active in the underground since 1993, despite being hampered by a tragic Spinal Tap-esque history with drummers1 and a recent spat with Conflict’s vocalist over their display of severed cow heads at a live show. Nevertheless they’ve still managed to release 4 albums, a slew of splits, and several live releases over the years, not to mention impressing a younger Z. with 2014’s Tortura EP. With members whose resumes include other Texas projects like Oath of Cruelty, Blaspherian, and P.L.F., there are much less promising bands out there in this subgenre, and fifth full-length Corona De Epidemia is as much proof of this as anything else.
That said, Corona isn’t exactly shattering any boundaries. In the spirit of Sacrocurse and the aforementioned Blasphemy, the group’s style here is precisely what you’d expect: buzzing inflammatory guitars, near-relentless blastbeats, and a vocalist whose gruff staccato rasp seems hell-bent on convincing you not to send your kids to Sunday School. Several tempo shifts and slower moments are also scattered throughout the fiery assault, though overall Morbosidad seems much more locked into “blast till the fukkin death!” mode than Blasphemy ever were. While this does make their music more homogenous, moments like the lurching half-time thrash breaks in “Corona de Epidemia” and “Cristo en Desgracia” hit all the harder because of it and even recall Weregoat’s terrific debut from last year.
It’s high energy for sure, but let’s go ahead and acknowledge the obvious pitfall. Distinct riffs are hardly a premium, and for most of these 11 tracks the band seem locked into the Black Witchery school of “shuffle around a few power chords and call it a day.” While the sound itself is powerful, Morbosidad seem to care more about sheer kinetic energy than memorability, and it took several focused listens before I was able to tell several of these songs apart. Likewise vocalist ‘Tomas Stench’ is unwavering in his delivery, rarely changing his inflection or vocal patterns at any point in Corona’s runtime.
Fortunately, Corona still has quite a few things going for it. Unlike some of their past works, the production here is absolutely savage, with a clear sound and a guitar tone that’s appropriately dry and fiery. The album is also well-constructed, with the most memorable moments scattered evenly throughout and the dirgier sections appearing at just the right times. The ringing chords that beget opener “Muerte Suicidio” make the blasting that follows all the more powerful, and late highlight “Maldición” features a mischievous little riff that’s apt to burrow into your subconscious. Likewise the doomy stomp of penultimate track “Crudeza” is a great setup for closer “D.E.P.”2, which – along with mid-album highlight “Difunto” – features some thick-as-tar tremolos that serve as a nice deviation from the rest of the aural abuse.
In all, my opinion of Corona is similar to how I felt about Mammoth Grinder’s album back in January: while not every track is a total winner, this is a fun overall listen propelled by vicious performances, a powerful production job, and songs that hit hard and get the hell out of the way. Just like the beer it shares a name with, there probably aren’t going to be too many raving about Corona, but fans of Archgoat and Blasphemophagher are sure to enjoy, as is anyone with a half hour to kill and a craving for scorching blastbeats and battering riffs. When it comes to blackened death metal, sometimes getting exactly what you expect is exactly what you need.