I have to commend Greyhaze Records for their dedication to reissuing classic Cogumelo catalog releases with a great deal of respect. Giving folks a chance to experience high quality versions of these albums and not old, degraded mp3’s from 2004 gives these amazing extreme death/thrash metal releases the re-animation they deserve. Hearing Mystifier, The Mist and Sarcofago all over again is a thrill and this reissue of ‘The Unholy One’ might be the biggest revelation for me yet. Expulser was always hard to find and a lot of distros/shops knew it, so ‘The Unholy One’ was an album you had to pay out the ass for especially the 12″. You cold only steal it digitally online unless you got lucky and found a copy of the 2004 CD version. Though the draw for me at the time was my collector’s obsession around old school death metal, Expulser’s debut full-length isn’t just a rarity but a classic example of the unique style of death/thrash coming from Brazil at the time.
When you consider similar releases from Brazil’s underground death metal scene of the time a lot of bands took heavy inspiration from Sepultura in general, but in 1992 it was ‘Arise’ that dominated everything so you’ll hear clear nods to it on tracks like “Screams of Delight” but you’ll immediately notice the unique style of blasting that kicks in between additional nods to Kreator‘s ‘Pleasure to Kill’ and even an outro that invokes Nocturnus very briefly. Expulser weren’t ‘me too’ posers so much as they were enthusiastic fans of death and thrash metal and the result is kind of a mix of unique ideas and familiar ones, close in style to Thanatos‘ first record. The style goes heavily into classic thrash riffing as well as ‘Altars of Madness’ style Morbid Angel-isms, and even stretches it’s wings into Atheist style grooves on the opening track.
I’d put this a step above releases from Dorsal Atlântica around the same time (who began to turn to groove metal) and similarly influenced Headhunter D.C. had barely found their rhythms on their second bestial death metal full-length. ‘The Unholy One’ reaps benefits from the Sarcofago influenced old school extreme metal drumming that reads today like a precursor to thrash influenced death metal like Mortem (Peru). Those confident but sloppy blasting drums existed in a post-Beherit and Blasphemy bubble but are too restrained to be considered war metal. It helps that most old school Brazilian thrash albums are long players, where the tracklist is not typically front-loaded with all the best songs, so the album’s overall pace might get redundant towards the end but the style actually feels more intense as it plays.
If you’re a fan of classic thrash metal and it’s extreme, bestial variations from South America then this is an absolute must-listen. If you likewise love death/thrash and old school death metal you’ll be even happier. “Screams of Delight” is worth the price of admission alone, but ‘The Unholy One’ does just as many interesting things across the 50 minutes of album here, which includes their original 1989 demo tape ‘Fornications’ as bonus tracks.
|Released||1992 [Original]| April 13, 2018 [Reissue]|
|Pre-Order from Greyhaze!||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp|
Only fools still pray. 4.0/5.0
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