By Thor

Despite Portugal being one of the oldest countries in Europe, it’s always been a bit of an enigma to me, a stupid American. In fact, prior to this review, the extent of my knowledge of Portugal was confined to the fact that Brazilians speak Portuguese, and that knowledge is just a byproduct of my MMA fandom. Again…stupid American. So, while attempting to embody some vague idea of a dignified reviewer, I did a little research.

I now know that Portugal was one of the first maritime powers on earth. The other thing I now know is that HOLOCAUSTO CANIBAL – Portugal’s preeminent extreme metal band – is one of the best death metal/grindcore amalgamations I’ve ever heard.

HOLOCAUSTO CANIBAL’s latest offering, “Crueza Ferina,” boasts 19 tracks of raw, stripped-down death/grind in the mode of bands like LOOKING FOR AN ANSWER, SKELETAL REMAINS, and even the almighty MORTICIAN. The opening track begins with what sounds like an authentic recording of a hog being slaughtered—my least favorite thing about the album—and then morphs into the album proper with a sludgy, heavy-as-fuck riff leading the band into a nonstop aural assault that only relents upon the conclusion of the final song.

Aesthetically, the vocals are explosively guttural, the guitars are ominously down tuned, the bass saws the flesh off your bones, and the drums dictate the tempo of this grindcore monster in some alchemic ways that imbue a surprising level of catchiness to a typically chaotic genre of tunes. In short, HOLOCAUSTO CANIBAL’s approach to their craft is optimized for maximum heaviness and aggression and “Crueza Ferina” showcases it impressively.

According to Google Translate, “Crueza Ferina” means “Cruel Crude”. That seems perfectly apt. This album will befoul your senses in the best ways possible. Grind heads and death metal maniacs alike will find a lot to like here.