Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Inner Sanctvm`s Christi Testamenta Reviewed

So let me start by saying that the song Machines that opens the new Inner Sanctvm album Christi Testamenta is a masterpiece. I think it is amazing to the point of absurdity! From the drum intro to the massive riffs and killer vocals, it is all great. Such an amazing song!

Inner sanctvm plays old school death metal pure and simple,  and this is my kind of death metal, slow an heavier than your grandmother! And let's be honest, she could stand to lose a few pounds. What I really like about this album is that it doesn't sound like every other death metal album out there. I.S got their own sound and today that is not something I can say every day, or even every week. Most of the songs are slow to mid paced, certain songs have a almost doomy feel to them, for example the second song on the album Hemoglobin, that one is a real funeral march, and a nice contrast to the more upbeat opener Machines. There are many small breaks and such scattered around the album, either drum break or sometimes the bass gets to play a bit by itself. And sometimes the two gets to play together with the guitar taking a quick coffee break. These kinds of things makes the music more interesting in my opinion. Speaking of keeping it interesting, track nr 8 Wisdom's Call is a spoken word piece, it might be a sample, but it is nothing I recognize. And the last two tracks are covers, one being a Celtic Frost cover and the other a song from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, which I must say is a very good choice since it really works as a metal song. Ok I had to look up this song because I'm not a very big musical fan, but the transition from musical to metal worked really well.

And while we are on the topic of things working well,  lets' talk a bit about the bass, and what a nice bass it is, it is loud in the mix so we are treated to its killer low end all the time. And what is very nice about the bass on this recording is that it doesn't simply just follow the guitar all the time, hell no, we get some sweet little fills here and there and sometimes it plays its own thing completely, so bass player Francisco Martín, really show that he has some mad skill . I so do enjoy a bass heavy production, since in many records the bass is underused and barely audible, but not here. So if you are a fan of the low end rumble, this is for you. But I have to say that everyone plays very well on this album, and you can really tell that we are dealing with veterans of the trade. Everything is tight and well done.

I really dig the vocals on this record, but we are talking about a true legend, Mr. Anton "Mr. Criminal/Pentagram" Reisenegger, so we sort of knew that the vocal department would be solid, didn't we. The vocals are not super low growls nor are they super high screams, they are kept more in the middle ground, sounding almost trashy at times. And at time they are sounding almost tormented, reminding me a bit of Nocturno Culto from the mighty Darkthrone. And since I consider Mr. Culto one of the best vocalists in extreme metal, that is one of the best compliments I can give a vocalist.

Onward to the guitar, it has a nice and almost a bit fuzzy tone. Everything is clear and you can hear all the riffs, sure the riffs doesn't sound that overly complicated, but I take a good song over a technical one every day. And that is what we have here, really good songs. Besides being a great songwriter and Inner sanctvm mastermind, Heber Hammer has some killer chops in the solo department, with both speed and a evolved sense of melody.   

The drumming by Alvaro García is spot on, he is not trying to break any speed records, but the pace is steady and everything is tastefully done. Ok on the first track we do get some pretty fast double bass drumming. And the drum sound is very nice, and so is the production in general. This album sounds like a metal album should sound these days, powerful and clean without being to sterile. So are you in the market for a slow to mid paced death metal album with great sound, then this is for you.

Sweden`s Wilhelm Lindh, "Portuguese by adoption," guitar player,  composer and owner of the Doom / Death Metal band The Gardnerz, reviews here in HeavyHardMetalmania.net. Careful and professional analysis to the music and albums with suggestions of what there is to see and hear ... not to be missed. "The wisdom is found in the extremes, all extreme Metal here!"

01. Machines
02. Hemoglobin
03. Waking the Dead
04. The Emperor Wears No Clothes
05. Trial by Fire
06. The Good Shepherd
07. Myths of Creation
08. Wisdom's Call
09. Dark Frozen Mud
10. And the Truth Shall Make You Free
11. Return to the Eve (Celtic Frost cover)
12. Heaven on Their Minds (From the OST Jesus Christ Superstar)
Heber W. Hammer - guitars
Anton Reisenegger - vocals
Álvaro Garcia - 
Francisco Martín - bass

INNER SANCTVM was formed in 1989 in Montevideo, Uruguay, as the brainchild of Heber W. Hammer, and since their very inception it has been marked by events that would characterize the uniqueness of the band. Heber had already formed one band before, Melkor Morgoth in 1986, being that band the very first one in Uruguay's land to perform Extreme Metal, but the best was yet to come.
Pablo Van Lagat would join on bass and vocals (ex Angkor Vat), and Adolfo Loskin on drums, and just a few weeks after the forming of INNER SANCTVM, the band recorded a Live Tape out of a show in Montevideo, that tape was passed to some people in Chile, and the band was then invited to perform live in Santiago, Chile, being this a very rare situation for a band coming from Uruguay, and let's say it, a rare situation for any underground band just being formed. Adolfo wouldn't be able to travel to Chile so Andy Viglioni was brought in as drummer.
In Chile the band got an amazing feedback from the crowd, and in Chile also is where they got in contact to start working on their debut four tracks Demo Tape "Shadows In The Mirror". The popularity of the band started to grow, not only in Uruguay, Chile, Argentina or Brazil, but they started to get great reviews from all over the world, mainly European 'Zines that were celebrating INNER SANCTVM's music and approach.
By the end of 1993 INNER SANCTVM travels again to Chile to play a show with SARCÓFAGO, and to record their first full length, the "Frozen Souls" album. By that time Álvaro García (drums, also ex Angkor Vat) would join, forming this way the most recognizable line up of the band.
The album was released in 1994 and once again the critics were nothing but great, the band started to grow to a level never seen before in Uruguay, also touring Latin America, but then tension within the band's members forced to Heber W. Hammer to leave the band. Beto would be the one in charge to take the 6 stringed axe.
As Heber was the driven force behind INNER SANCTVM, Pablo Van Lagat was the face of the band, and soon enough he would also departure. José Romero (later on Requiem Aeternam) would replace Pablo but the countdown for INNER SANCTVM's days had already begun. During 2006 Heber would try to re-start the band but it failed, the musicians weren't the right ones and certain circumstances surrounding INNER SANCTVM went totally out of control, so that, everything was folded again.
By 2009 everything clearer and the chances were there to take INNER SANCTVM back to life. Heber wrote an entire new album and Álvaro (now located in Italy) agreed on becoming the drummer. Francisco Martín (who lives in Sweden, plays in The Gardnerz and is a long time related person to INNER SANCTVM) was brought as the new bass player. Anton Reisenegger of Pentagram (Chile) / Criminal / Lock Up was asked to join as singer, and with this full line-up the band recorded "CHRISTI TESTAMENTA", the comeback album.

CHRISTI TESTAMENTA  (I, Voidhanger Records - 2012)
FROZEN SOULS  (Toxic Records, 1994 - to be reissued by I, Voidhanger Records in 2013)
(Self released, 1991)

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