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Criminal: Sacrificio

Chilean band Criminal have had a long and fairly prolific career thus far. Sacrificio is the group's ninth studio album since their debut in 1994, and while it falls into a lot of the more common trappings that plague bands in the thrash/groove metal vein, the band brings enough aggression and impressive riffs to the table to warrant a deeper look.

As previously mentioned, Criminal are a thrash/groove metal band that adds a touch of death metal flourishes to their molten alloy. The groove factor isn't nearly as present in Sacrificio as it is in many other works of the genre, and to me that's a good thing, as all that constant groovin' can get a bit repetitive if the band doesn't have the adequate swagger to back it up. This album is basically a modern thrash album with some slower moodier bits and stompy rhythms thrown in. Think newer Testament blended with Chaos A.D. era Sepultura and you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The riffs come fast and furious, solos are technical and plenty, and the drumming is out of this world. While there's (thankfully) no primal, tribal beats ala Sepultura's Roots on Sacrificio, the drums do evoke a lot of the technical moments from Igor Cavalera's glory days. It's certainly a hell of a lot more interesting than the standard thrashy beat that almost every current band in the scene uses.

So, while all the instrumentals are handled very well and sound great, the vocals leave a bit to be desired in that they are painfully generic and monotone. This style of barked/shouted vocals is such a buzzkill on what would be an otherwise great album of intense, dark thrash. That's one of the things that truly elevated bands of the style (like the big four of American thrash) out of the underground and into mainstream relevance; a vocalist that was instantly recognizable and gave some sort of individuality to the group. This lack of distinctiveness in the vocal delivery really hurts the memorability of the tracks and makes the album sort of feel like one long blur. An enjoyable blur, and one full of piss and vinegar, but I'd struggle to pick one song to recommend above others because of it.

Big time thrash fans will be all over Sacrificio, though. It's sharp and propulsive riffs will have you banging your heads, and the guitar solos and drumming will be a point of interest for the fans of virtuosic instrumentals, but it all could come off as rather samey and unmemorable to those who don't have a "Thrash or Die" mentality. Worth a look either way, and if you like Sepultura, well then you will probably really like this.

1. Live on Your Knees
2. Caged
3. The Whale
4. Zona de sacrificio
5. After Me, the Flood
6. Dark Horse
7. Theocrazy
8. Sistema criminal
9. Zealots
10. Age of Distrust
11. Hunter and the Prey
12. Ego Killer

Added: January 23rd 2022
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 629
Language: english

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