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FDA Rekotz (2014)
Rating: 9/10

FDA Rekotz is another record label that rarely puts a foot wrong, so it’s no surprise then that Thornafire’s latest descent into darkness is another veritable feast of the vicious, the volatile and the volcanic.

Magnaa is the fourth episode in the career of this Chilean extreme metal act which formed in 1998. Their blasphemous brand of death metal has never once let up, and with each and every chapter in their discography they’ve slayed victims with apparent ease by wave of frothing vocal sneers, belligerent percussion and a frenzy of slamming, bestial guitars.

I was impressed by their last opus, 2012’s Eclipse Nox Coagula, and wasn’t sure that such a feeding frenzy could be bettered, but they’ve delivered once again with another meaty package of fast-paced evil and eye-gouging brutality.

After a brief introduction, ‘La Sierpe’ comes hurtling out of its lair like an animal that has been caged and fuelled by its thirst for blood. With occasional slower segments to add to the brooding intensity, Thornafire adds extra chunks of speed and weight to mix with the already evident arrogant chaos and wickedness, bolstered by vocalist Christian Argandoña’s bass and Victor Mac-Namara’s guitar, but above all Nikko Pagani’s truly remarkable percussion which rattles to the point of uncontrollable viciousness. The trio are masters of vomiting out perverse structures, flexing themselves with nasty progression amidst the more recognisable strains of extreme metal battering to the point that by the midway stage ‘La Sierpe’ has quite literally removed all bones from the body and left the carcass a squelching mass of flesh.

This is some truly twisted and sporadically technical death metal that revels in its hatred and yet with such swollen negative emotion channels it through its war torn instruments. Whether it’s the horrendous jarring nature of ‘Corvus Corax’ with its cold, bleak introductory segments or the rampant, disjointed slaying machine that is ‘Sacrificial Catabsis’ it could well be argued that Thornafire has actually come up with something just a tad different within the death metal genre; supplying constant threats via the raging guitar menace and by mixing black streaks of complexity and cavorting with utter perversity riff wise and in its percussive techniques.

While never bewildering, Magnaa is an album of many levels; far reaching into the dynamics of contemporary design and yet within each grim plateau descending into darker depths of Satan’s realm. Of all these hammerings those more noteworthy than others have to be the pummelling ‘Vortex de Sileo’, where Cristian Argandoña’s vocals sound something akin to a demon swallowing rusty nails, and the peculiar bass lead traditional metal gallop of ‘Scorching Iron Thorns’ (featuring former drummer Juan Pablo Donoso), which is a joy to behold; an impure wiry mesh of punked up blackness mixed with blast beat drums and a frightening collision of guitar, bass and vocal.

Thornafire has created another hideous piece of charcoaled extreme metal and it’s the sort of repugnant racket that, believe it or not, has breathed new life into the death metal scene. It doesn’t care for nostalgia or overt technology; instead, it’s a beast so natural in its evil that one cannot help be severely lacerated by the time ‘Espiritual Lid Paranoia’ has crashed and leaked into the orchestral finale of the outro. Magnaa will not leave you gagging for more, because there will be no more of you left.

Neil Arnold

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