"Midnight Vampire"

By Dr. Abner Mality

It's just about impossible to hate a band like Brazil's SPEEDKILLER. The only thing I know about these guys is that, like so many South American bands, they seem stuck in a permanent time warp of the 80's and early 90's. When it comes to metal, South America is the land that time forgot. Some of the retro bands trying to recapture thrash and death metal glories of the past can get the job done; more and more, most of them just sound like they playing a formula.

Happily, SPEEDKILLER shows enough genuine enjoyment in what they are doing to avoid the formula tag. Also, to me they don't seem to be trying to recreate the chaotic, sloppy sounds of VULCANO or HOLOCAUSTO. They are more controlled and riff-centric and resemble old SEPULTURA a bit more, with generous traces of MERCYFUL FATE, CELTIC FROST and German thrash tossed in. We get only six "real" songs but they all have their moments. A lot of the lead guitar work on the album brings FATE to mind, though the vocals are gruff and echoey. "Shadow People" is a grindingly heavy song, much more death metal, although hailing from the earliest days of DM. The title track is raging speed metal with a bite (pun intended) and "Valley of Death" lumbers along with a real lurching CELTIC FROST touch to it. The album wraps up with "Circles of Blood", which starts as more "typical" metal before getting an injection of fuel that kicks it up a notch.

It's a fun album for old schoolers to listen to and a little bit better written and recorded than a lot of South American extremity.