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Equinócio Espectral

Hellprod (2014)
Rating: 7.5/10

Portuguese band Martelo Negro formed in 2006 as Black Hammer, releasing an EP and three singles before changing their moniker in 2009. Under their new name, the quartet released their debut full-length, Sortilégio dos Mortos, in late 2011, and is now followed by this latest album, Equinócio Espectral, which is a 14-track 12” vinyl offering that is limited in numbers and showcases the band’s passion for that unholy mixture of black, thrash and death metal.

After a brief introduction I’m hammered, pulverised, pillaged and lacerated by the horror that is ‘Culto Hermético’, a truly frightful slab of evil noise that’ll either have you running for cover or ornamenting your abode in bloodied skulls, black candles and all manner of satanic oddments.

But wait, just before you guys and gals start thinking this is a straight up black thrash attack then think again. Martelo Negro incorporate some killer melody into their thick, black sound, which is the result of the barking bass of The Beyonder; the formidable frontman and brainchild of this bunch of beasts. The Beyonder is of mammoth appearance, which is reflected in his deep, guttural yap. Such noise is aided by the hideous twin guitar barrage of Melkor and Thamuz, who are keen to spend most of their life forming so many wretched song structures that it would take a madman of a drummer to want to bang along to it all. Thankfully for the rest, there is the tormented sticksman Arrno Maalm, who probably doesn’t have hands but instead finds a set of drum sticks wielded to his flesh.

However, as I stated, for all of its frightful façade there is so much more to this hideous beast than just an oily blend of rusty thrash and blackened death, because once that opening track kicks in you’ll be left spinning by its maniacal melody.

For a moment, just forget the monstrous vocals and initial black barrage of soot and damp and concentrate on that absolutely fantastic slice of melody thrown in at the two-minute mark; a great dose of punk pomp if ever there was one, coupled with a traditional metal stir.

Martelo Negro is an underground band boasting so much talent behind their wall of vile thrash. Just check out the bestial variety posed on ‘Equinócio Espectral’, ‘Born Again Antichrist’, ‘Ouroboros, Constrictora’ and ‘Thus Rides The Plaguebringer’, which are all delivered within the framework of an uncompromising marrying of black, death and thrash metal which in the words of the band may have you running across the countryside “defiling graves, whorehouses and churches” to aid the combo in “spreading the words of the horned Jesus”.

Neil Arnold

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