Spanish death/grind outfit Machetazo is a well-praised and long-running band that delivers solid records. And yet those records, what of them I’ve heard, would fall somewhere between a few feet and just a hair’s-breadth short of knocking me down.
Most recently, I enjoyed 2005’s Sinfonias Del Terror Ciego, but I felt the production left a little to be desired, with some roughshod guitar tones and a particularly underwhelming drum sound. Three years later, Machetazo return with a vastly stouter sheen on their trademark gory madness, with guttural vocals (now with more variety and actual lyrics!) and some truly sick and razor-sharp riffing. And by gum, I’m sold 100%. No longer are these guys just another solid Razorback-styled gore metal band, promising and yet predictable, first-rate but not first place. But Mundo Cripta rights the few wrongs of previous efforts, and to quote my friend Willie, “This is big-league shit.”
The more I listen, the more I realize that guitarist Rober Bustabad (also of Banished From Inferno) is the star of this particular horror show. His riffs are sick and simple, and his guitar tone is positively nasty—it’s thick, almost dripping something vile, sharp without being thin, viscous without being muddy. There are really no new additions to the gore-grind bag of tricks here, but this is done so expertly, so passionately, so violently that it doesn’t matter. You know the drill. Death metal riffs meld seamlessly with grinding blastbeats… Below vocals growled and occasionally rasped in a Carcass-y midrange… Alongside ominous samples from what I’m assuming are Spanish language horror films (no hablo, I’m afraid)… Riffs like the simple three-note repeated run in “Altares De Lo Macabro” twist and turn and ooze without overpowering the listener with sheer blunt force, and then riffs like the pounding intro to “Exstatis Nauseabundo” smash your skull like a hammer. It’s give and take; it allows you a second to breathe before it punches you silly… Even as it sits strictly within the proscribed framework, Mundo Cripta is akin to the slasher film that manages to transcend its own limitations, manages to scare the piss out of you without relying solely upon cheap shock tactics amidst predictable machete-wielding stock characters. Put differently, it’s the “Halloween” to a lesser band’s “Silent Night, Deadly Night.”
Good ‘n’ bloody ‘n’ bloody good, this one is. Gore metal doesn’t get too much better than this, kids.