By Dr. Abner Mality

The metal scene in Portugal has blown up like an atomic bomb. Suddenly the little country is producing metal of every stripe. SEPULCROS are of the death/doom variety and offer a solid slab of crawling heaviness.

While not blindingly original, neither is the band without its own sound. The production and playing here is top notch and the clarity makes them even heavier. The songs generally start in atmospheric, low-key fashion and then mutate into true funeral doom that drags itself slowly forward like a giant slug. The surprise comes in the climax, where SEPULCROS speeds up and becomes extremely raw and chaotic, ending songs in a blast of cathartic noise. The title track works in this fashion, with the doom stuff being pretty familiar but with tension increasing until that ripping volcano acts as a release. Better yet is “Marcha Funebre”, which has a doomy, dissonant majesty to it that strikes deep.

That song is the high point but the rest doesn’t disappoint. “Hecatombe” takes a while to shake off the somber melodies but when it gets where it’s going, it’s worth it. Throughout the album, screams and roars provide fitting accompaniment to what sounds like the musical equivalent of the year 2020 so far.

Death/doom fans in particular should seek out “Vazio” and even fans of straight raging death metal might be impressed if they can stand slower tempos.