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An aural assault on the brain

When it comes to music, especially the metal genre, looking to America will likely prove disappointing. The search for quality tends to gravitate toward the metal bands of Europe, predominantly the Scandinavian region. What tend to get overlooked are bands like Krisun, a band of brothers from Brazil.

The three brothers, who were influenced by California’s Slayer and Tampa’s Morbid Angel, have just released their sixth full-length album, AssassiNation. Krisiun also made it into Rolling Stone’s Best of 2001 issue with Ageless Venomous, the only metal album to make the list.

On AssassiNation, Krisiun has maintained all of the important death metal elements: growling vocals, a solid rhythm section, harmonious melodic lines and a sense of brutality that might make you throw a fist at the nearest person within reach. One key difference is the breakneck speed at which they manage to accomplish all of these wonderful things, combined with their emphasis on lead riffs and lead guitar solos – all with only one guitarist, mind you.

The album opens with “Bloodcraft,” an aural assault. The first few bars resemble precision machine gunfire, yet are more exact than an actual machine gun could ever be. It continues with an insanely fast melodic guitar riff accompanied by vocals, and then reverts back to machine-gun rhythms. From there, the rhythmic assault gets faster and follows with a harmonic line to accompany the guitar melody. The formula is very basic, alternating between the rhythmic theme introduced in the beginning and the melodic line, all heading toward a crescendo leading into a guitar solo for about the last minute of the song. And for closure, the song ends with bassist/vocalist Alex Camargo chanting “Bloodcraft,” over a bludgeoning rhythm.

“H.O.G” (House of God), the fifth offering, leads listeners in with a blasting beat over a basic rhythm followed by a melodic line with a guitar solo played over it, leading into more vocals followed by further melodic development through the use of harmonic lines played over the guitar melodies. Thunderous blasts from the drums and bass belie the melodies and rhythms of the guitar to round out the peace and bring it to a close.

Another highlight is the eighth offering, “Doomed,” a wonderfully dissonant, clean-toned piece with a solo played faintly over it. The contrasting dissonance and consonance of the rhythm juxtaposed with the lead give the piece a great sense of atmosphere and respite from the fast-paced ferocity the rest of the tracks share.

One downside to this is that while Krisiun tends to focus on the rhythm of their pieces, the end result after a 12-song album is a bit repetitious. The focus most guitarists have when it comes to being heavy is to use the lower strings on their guitar, the lowest being the deepest. But while Krisun isn’t creative rhythmically, the melody of the album speaks volumes in comparison.

If you like Decapitated or Morbid Angel give Krisiun a try. They will not disappoint. Also, if you want to support the scene, check out Krisiun on tour with Cattle Decapitation, Abysmal Dawn, Tampa’s own Six Feet Under and Decapitated. These bands will make their way to the State Theatre on Sept. 13.