Hailing from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, Perpetratör return with their second album, Altered Beast, four years after the debut Thermonuclear Epiphany (released via both Stormspell Records and Caverna Abismal Records). The trio (with former and current members of e.g. Antiquus Scriptum, Filii Nigrantium Infernalium, The Firstborn amongst others) (actually, they have been helped once again by a session drummer) recorded eleven new epics, clocking thirty-eight minutes, to be released both on cassette and compact disc via one of Portugal’s heaviest labels, Caverna Abismal Records. Those trusted with the band’s debut will know what to expect: vengeful, merciless and lethal brutality, and indeed this time too it goes that very same way! Check out…
For thirty-eight minutes, you, dear reader / listener, will undergo one of the reasons why I once got interested in the heavier side of the musical spectrum. Imagine the Eighties. The heaviest things that did exist, except for The Beatles or ABBA, were Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pentagram, well, you know the sh*t. And then, suddenly, something arose from the Underworld. Initially it was called Thrash Metal, but hey, I liked that Teutonic old school sonic violence. I will not come up with an unlimited list with Venom, Tankard, Kreator, Slayer, Sodom, Metallica, Bathory, …oops, I just did… No, seriously, that prototype of Thrash Metal was like a revelation to the hungry, long-haired audience.
But I am going too far, so let’s explain this introduction. Throughout the years, Thrash Metal did evolve a lot, and it did expand enormously too. But that Old School vibe did return time after time. Here too I will not come with a list of young bands that do pay tribute to those early years. Perpetratör are such act that combine the origins with modernism, and that’s easily explicable. The modernism goes for the production. Well, Altered Beast indeed is like a beast when referring to the sound quality. It is quite clean, in a certain sense, without that pathetic clinical decency, yet truly well-balanced in mix and final audible experience. It shows through a fabulous equilibrium of all instruments involved (vocals included as an instrumental part, evidently), with a top-notch representation of all those elements. It surely is so nice to notice that bass and electric guitars (rhythm and leads), drums, vocals and Alpine horn (hehe, it’s like a game: which element does not fit?) are so equally represented.
But it goes further too. The material itself convinces, as if it were written three decades ago. About each composition is based on a solid base of heavily pounding rhythms and upbeating leads, with a main role for guitar leads at the one hand, and those characteristic yells of vocalist / bass player Rick. And yeah, there are some grunting passages too, you deadheadfreak… Teutonic Thrash passages get injected with fierce and sharp guitar solos (quite a lot, yet permanently drawing attention without falling into exaggeration). And whole of the time, that fabulous rhythm section pushes up the melodious efforts towards higher sonic dimensions. Solos and leads reappear time after time (do not underestimate the influence of the leads, both in their profound presence as behind the scenes!), never being disturbing or irritating, while the essence of powered violence remains as a steady foundation.
Do not expect to encounter a renewing album with Altered Beast. The recording simply does not renew the scene at all. but f*ck being original, for there is no (or at least: not always) reason to do so. Perpetratör go back to the essence, to the origins of the earliest years, yet with a 21st-century-oriented attitude (cf. the sound quality specifically). Seen from the side of song writing and composing, this stuff pays tribute to the roots. Seen from executional point of view, it might be clear that all members involved know how to handle their instruments. As it comes to the studio duties, that monumental and overpowering production strengthens the performance results. So, in conclusion, I think that every f*ckin’ thrashead around has a legitimate, accepted reason to destroy his / her neck vertebrae – but it’s worth being wrecked, to my opinion!