Heavy metal is still a genre that doesn’t build on the happy side of life. It’s music that takes its energy from the struggles of daily life, issues in social coexistence and the revolutionary thinking that grows from it. It’s not all the bands that take their raging inspiration from these roots but Criminal from Chile is a powerhouse that certainly build their music on these main pillars.
Criminal started in 1991 when the Heydays of metal where ebbing away to make space for genres like grunge and nu metal. The more remarkable it is that Andreas Reisenegger and his band had a good start and are still active today. Five years after having published ‘Fear Itself’ it is the massive ‘Sacrificio’ that marks a next chapter of this passionate story of a persistent band.
Album number nine is as aggressive and relentless as anticipated by fans of brutal thrash metal. ‘Live on Your Knees’, the opener, doesn’t leave a doubt when it comes to the power spread by this longplayer. Thundering drumming leads towards a furious metal anthem that acts as a sonic wrecking ball, a first challenge for speakers and amplifier. ‘Caged’ continues and is another songs with meat cleaver riffs, a song that doesn’t know the word ‘compromise’.
As mentioned earlier, it’s the circumstances of life that helps to add the expected fury to this longplayer. Although the homebase of Criminal is split between Spain and England, there are still connection to Chile, the origin of the band. At the time when Criminal worked on this longplayer, the situation in the Chile wasn’t a comfortable one with protest against corruption, inequality and poor living standards. With three band members having their origins in the South American country, the situation there fueled the new album with energy and anger, manifested in songs like ‘Zealots’ with its hardcore/punk references.
Criminal keep most of the songs to a maximum of three minutes and in this context ‘Zona De Sacrificio’ is the exception. Thrash metal roots and a strong groove, in parts reminding of Sepultura, are the main ingredient of this smashing highlight. And there is a bit of Testament that’s weaved in too. Screaming guitars and an oppressive atmosphere is what makes this song special. A few changes in pace adds extra excitement while it is the furious solo part that is done with confidence
Consistency in quality is what the album represents too. The bottom part of the tracklist can easily compete with the fulminant beginning of the album with songs like ‘Hunter and The Prey’ ‘Ego Killer’ being the riff monsters, placed at the end of this longplayer.
Long story short. Criminal’s new album is an ode to metal that knows neither compromise nor weakness. The guys manage on their current longplayer to package anger and fury in twelve songs that all deserve the rating ‘very good’. This album is savage and wild.
- Live on your Knees
- The Whale
- Zona de Sacrificio
- After me, the Flood
- Dark Horse
- Sistema Criminal
- Age of Distrust
- Hunter and the Prey
- Ego Killer
Label: Metal Blade Records
Genre: Thrash-/ Death Metal
Release Date EU: September 17th, 2021