ACRANIA - Fearless

Acrania - Fearless

9 songs
41:50 minutes
***** ****
(self-released)

Bandpage

Mexico isnít a country where one usually gets to discover heavy metal bands, at least not in faraway Europe. Acrania from the Mexico City have been founded in 2006 and released earlier this year their third album Fearless with the financial support of the National Council for Culture and Arts and the National Fund for Culture and Arts. So much official endorsement must either mean that the quartet is a toothless act in harmlessness, or something culturally truly extraordinary that your country can be proud of. Fortunately, the latter is the case.

Rooted in death and thrash metal, the music is enriched with lots of percussion, trumpet and saxophone. The band even refers to their music as Latin metal, and that made me think of Nineties Latin metal pioneers Laberinto from Venezuela. But where the Venezuelansí music doesnít seem to have passed the test of time and feels now a little like anachronistic crossover metal, Acrania still feel very fresh. The opener People Of The Blaze is the ideal point of entry into Fearless, where we get from the start fast paced death thrash metal with a busy percussionist complementing the drummer, and the wind instruments adding their elements of samba, bossa and salsa. The following Poverty Is In The Soul is one of the bandís longer track at just under seven minutes and allows the guitarist to show off his jazz sensibilities. The fact that Atheist and Cynic are among Acraniaís influences is definitely not hidden.

You might accuse the band of using the Latin ingredients as a gimmick. No matter if that were true or not, the trumpet solos add another dimension of colourfulness to the music that another mere guitar solo might never have achieved. I also like the rather dry and basic production which gives you the impression to see the band play live on a sweaty stage somewhere in Central America. Another highlight is the nine minute long Manís Search For Meaning, combining once again the musiciansí incredibly idiosyncrasies with truly intelligent lyrics, the latter being something one doesnít encounter enough these days.

Latin metal may not be something entirely new, but Acrania have found their very own niche of progressive and even occasionally jazzy death thrash metal with authentic Latin sounds. Both thumbs up for these incredible artists!

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