Musing over subterranean landscapes and the spirits that torture, churn, and reintegrate souls within fieriest afterlife Mexican death metal quartet Ravenous Death have returned with a second even more excessive display of full-ranged yet decidedly pure death metal bulldozing on ‘Visions From the Netherworld‘. This long and unforgiving genre entry release pushes the ear with an hourlong suffocating load of riff heavy ‘old school’ spirited death metal craft, an inspired sophomore record from a band dedicated to hammering out timeless brutality which capitalizes upon these musicians’ wide-spread enthusiasm for the sub-genre as a whole.
Formed in 2016 between members of Remains, In Obscurity Revealed, and Demonic Manifestation (among others) with the primary goal of expanding upon a specific shared inspiration via early Vomitory, a Swedish death metal band known for their straightforward approach to modern European death metal as the standards of brutality had arisen near the end of that decade, this primarily Guadajalara-based death metal squad has evolved within this elder ‘new old school’ mindset rather than beyond it; In embrace of callous, somewhat atmospheric movements and focused yet not-so scene obsessed classicist death metal style Ravenous Death are able to showcase their taste for several eras of death metal riffcraft while still making sense as a full listening experience.
Ravenous Death had more or less figured their sound out on ‘Ominous Deathcult‘ (2017) and expanded upon this quickly on ‘Chapters of an Evil Transition‘ (2019) despite having replaced former vocalist/guitarist Miguel Ángel (Remains), who’d passed away that same year, with the similar register of Víctor Mercado (A Dying Season). When that debut released I’d wasn’t sure how to nail down a description that’d stick, some songs were up there with 2000’s Fleshcrawl and Cut Up in terms of Swedish brutality whereas others pulled from the ‘Severed Survival’ school of rotten late 80’s death metal. The easy answer is, well, they’re a death metal band whom cross both 90’s specific rhythmic traits with the nostalgic revisionism of post-millennial death metal, leaving no corpse behind as any true sub-genre lifer would. This makes for a solid enough, if not somewhat average spin if you’re a dedicated fan of classic death metal’s core statement and its evolution over time, without any particular interest in catchy songs or the hardcorish pit metal aspect of brutal death.
Cutting down to the most choice marrow of the experience, the ripest pit of ‘Visions From the Netherworld’ for my own taste was at its core nearby “Gore Vault Dismemberment”, a piece showcases the band at their best — Ripping pace, deep-lunged vocals and some notable nuance applied to the development of heavier grooves. Here we see some of the comparisons I’d made with their debut album matching the collective European death metal mindset of nowadays Sinister (post-‘Afterburner‘ or thereabouts) and more or less matching the sort of Infester-sized urgency of their North American death metal influences, which I’d suggest fans of records like Vrenth‘s ‘Baptism Death‘ will appreciate. As we tunnel deeper towards the jogging hulk of “Hydra Dungeon” some emphasis on different shades of death metal begin to show their prominence by avoiding any too-specific point of worship; Early Swedish death metal’s hardcore punk spectrum begins to inform the full hour nearby this mid-point while likewise touching upon some of the crooked rhythms of Finnish death before eventually moving on. The main offender which’d stopped me in my tracks within each spin of this ~63 minute record was “Path of the Spawn Dogs”, a simpler piece that has the feral thrashing launch of early Cannibal Corpse beset with what I’d consider punkish, almost death-grinding rhythms and slippery ‘Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious‘-edged changeups, feats which again link the appeal of many ideals into a singular, atmospherically imposing beast as we drop right into “Burnt Children of Moloch”.
The most obvious criticism is in plain view considering an hour of unflinching death metal will be too much for some, if not most listeners. The ability to weed out the weak in this regard is probably the strongest virtue/conviction Ravenous Death present on their second album. ‘Visions From the Netherworld‘ provides a strong message that they are not only inspired as a crew but hitting a certain groove that has inspired a ton of material, cranking out what is essentially a double album by today’s lite standards. The fact that they provide compelling enough material to warrant a full listen on repeat is worthy of praise in and of itself. That said, I didn’t find myself tallying too many big moments that’d make this a standout or particularly memorable experience beyond the impressive punch of it all in motion. Any extra trait or edge this band have in store in the future hasn’t yet translated into something particularly unique in character thus far, and this despite their clear talent for death metal craft in general. I wasn’t bored and wasn’t thrilled but I was absorbed within the full listen each time I’d picked it up. A moderately high recommendation.
|TITLE:||Visions From the Netherworld|
|RELEASE DATE:||January 24th, 2022|
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