Back in the 70s it wasn’t so uncommon to find power rock trio bands like Rush or Triumph, but I can’t say I’ve come across many death metal trios (with the obvious exception being bands, particularly black metal bands, where there’s just one guy doing everything. But even then they tend to use a full band when playing live.) Well, meet Krisiun, because that is exactly what they are, three Brazilian brothers who’ve been making extreme metal for twenty plus years now. They’ve just released their eighth album, “The Great Execution” and it kills.
These guys first came to my attention about ten years ago with the release of their fourth album, “Ageless Venemous.” They played an old school death metal that seemed like it was influenced by Slayer and Kreator and other early extreme metal progenitors. I remember seeing them play at Jaxx in Springfield, Virginia (I want to say they may have been with Deicide? Cannibal Corpse? I need to find the old ticket stub) and I was pretty impressed that three guys could sound so good doing technical death metal.
Members of the non-metal-listening community have been known to say it takes no skill to play heavy metal, and they are of course dead wrong. But it is undeniable that there are many death metal bands around who may have the ability to play loud and fast, but who do not cultivate any songwriting skills and so put out bland, generic sounding music. Hearing the rare band like Krisiun really reminds me that we should expect a little more from death metal. Brutal death metal is great, but let’s not throw songwriting out the window just for the sake of aggression.
Krisiun very obviously know what they are doing AND they have songwriting skill. The music is fast, the vocals are harsh, and there is separation of the different elements so you can hear what everyone is doing (maybe it helps to be a trio?) This makes me happy because they don’t just play fast; they play real riffs and real lead guitar solos like you would get in a thrash band, only in death metal style. And they are not afraid to mix things up a little either; track 6, “The Sword of Orion”, near the very end, there is some fast lead guitar work that sounds suspiciously like Spanish or classical guitar mixed in with the metal. How cool is that? Very cool I say.
It occurs to me that while the title “The Great Execution” refers to the act of ending a person, perhaps a great many persons, but it also applies in this case as the great execution of a new album.Cue rim shot I know, I’m corny, don’t all throw rotting fruit at me at once.