Recorded in Mexico City, Esfera 3 Studios in September 2004. Mixed and masterized (sic) by Raul Rodriguez Lagunez and Antonio Farfan. Engineered by Raul Rodriguez Lagunez. Produced by Drowned In Blood. Music by AntonioFarfan Angeles. Lyrics by Jorge Gonzalex Avila.
If you are in any doubt, having just read the band, album and track names, this album does not contain particularly happy music. But do you know what? I rather enjoyed listening to this debut album from Mexican death metallers Drowned In Blood.
Elements of the album took me back to the kind of extreme noise terror that I listened to in my late teens in the early 90s, and there is certainly more than a nod to death metal pioneers Morbid Angel. So, oddly comforting then.
Unsurprisingly, with the words “more brutal than war” splashed across the centre pages of the CD booklet the music matches the music rather perfectly. This is the sound of a brutal, mechanical war, an unrelenting bombardment of twisting, turning riffs; machine-gun drums; screams and guttural, grunting vocals. It is 35 minutes of wall-to-wall metal. What energy! It is almost exhausting to listen to.
The opening track “Warfare Graves” opens with an audio clip from the movie Black Hawk Down, which listened to out of context sounds horrific. But then, I guess, it is. A soldier has been shot and in his desperate screams realises that he is dying. “Leave me alone, leave me alone,” he pleads. Riff! Crash! Riff! Crash! Drums! Chuga-chuga-squeal!
The lyrics wouldn’t win any literary prizes and they seem to have made up words too:
Bloody looks, the fauceses (sic) of the earth
Swallow the meat full with lead
Gnarled the odies (sic), sinister punishments,
Great suicidal flames covering everything.
But this kind of music is never about the words. They simply add, through texture and suggestion, an additional layer of horror to the extremity of the music. And to be fair they do it very well.
The sleeve notes end with this dedication:
This piece of brutality is dedicated to all people that has been lived the war in his own flesh.
Is this album a tribute to those who have fought in war, or an artistic interpretation of the experience? Perhaps it’s both. Whatever the truth, this is a solid example of death metal. Drowned In Blood should be proud of their debut.
Review score: 65%