Acrania – ‘Fearless’

Acrania are a Mexico based, Latin edged thrash/death band, incorporating a major Latin element, in a bid to break the ‘rules’ of metal. This, ‘Fearless’, is their third album. Mastered in Tower studio, by Brett Caldas Lima, (Cynic, Megadeth), art work by Elarin Kantor – famous for his work with Testament, Iced Earth, Sodom, etc.

In common with many metal bands, Acrania’s musical vision is significantly driven by political, religious and world issues.  ‘Fearless’ was released with support from Mexico’s National Council for Culture and Arts (CONACULTA) and the National Fund for Culture and Arts (FONCA). 

Formed in Mexico, in 2006, their first EP, ‘In Peaceful Chaos’, was launched in 2007, by which time they had found their ideal sound.  Their first album, ‘Unbreakable Fury’, was launched in 2010.  Acrania toured Europe, to promote that release, with support from the Wacken Foundation.  It was met with positive acclaim. 

Their second album, ‘An Uncertain Collision, launched in 2012, with support from CONACULTA, once again.  Numerous publications have named it ‘Best Album of the Year’, including ‘Search N Destroy’ and ‘Rolling Stone’.

They then received an award for Best Album of the Year, from ‘Kalani Metal Awards’ and were also listed in ‘Best Albums of 2012’, by Sweden’s ‘Global Domination’, along with Candlemass’s ‘Psalms for the Dead’, Diablo Swing Orchestra’s ‘Pandora’s Pinata’, Kreator’s ‘Phantom Antichrist’ and it’s been highly acclaimed by ‘Metal Underground’, ‘Bravewords’, ‘About.com (Heavy Metal’), ‘The Metal Crypt’, etc.

Following such phenomenal success, they’ve toured Europe and Mexico, playing alongside Diablo Swing Orchestra, Death To All, Exodus, The Agonist, The Faceless, Legion Of The Damned and Havok.

People Of The Blaze – Wow!  Crazed intro of fiery, life affirming Latin, death combos.  Instant sense of a world of righteous anger being conveyed, with an attempt to make sense out of it, clearly presented within the clean, lively jazz sections, melded with the aggressive death and thrash arrangements.  It’s immediately evident that the wild, freely performed percussion works well; bringing a lightness and novel expression to the whole.  Fearless indeed).

Poverty Is In The Soul – Opening with riffs, combined with a mix resembling jungle and steel drums, Latin dance and wind instruments; together, conveying a loudly impassioned performance, so varied, it could go anywhere and compel you to listen.  Massively entrancing, wildly intriguing and blazing with utter conviction.

I Was Never Dead – Fuck, that woke me up!  A sheer blast of continental power of epic proportions.  Banging the volume and intensity up, for all it’s worth.  You’ll probably never hear anything else quite like this obscure, but enlightening mixture of multiple genres and instruments, again in your life.  It actually does kill all the rules stone dead.  Never before have I heard such a lively, exotic blend of techniques and sounds, which actually works and works well.

Blinded By Power – Softer acoustic intro, soon supported by tribal like drum beats, deathy lyrics and trumpet section, Bongos and flamenco riffs; all of which alternate with each other, throughout, in a stunning tour de force of gallant and markedly versatile musicianship.

Overflow – Wow again!  Talk about lively.  A totally confident performance of that awesomely unique blend of thrash, death, Latin American, jazz, European and one-off fusion metal.

En El Puerto – Tinkling piano, with string section, ocean waves and seagulls in the background.  Short, but very beautiful.  Attention grabbing and extremely memorable.

Hypocritical Conflict – Beat drum intro, with a jungle sound and thrash death vocals.  Acoustic guitar riffs, initially gentle, but rapidly turning wilder and freer.  Growly fury, combined with subtle introspection and fiery vibrancy.  ‘It’s a kind of magic’, to quote Queen.

Man’s Search For Meaning – There was something ‘Pink Panther’esque about that intro.  Deep throated, blood-soaked lyrics pour from the depths, offset against a backdrop of uplifting variety, encompassing a range of percussion and wind instruments, thrash guitars and an atmosphere of sun, sand, sea and dancing late into the night.  Again, it works.  Vividly visual, imagery provoking, highly spirited music from another dimension.  There’s a mystical brilliance about it.

Point Of Collision – Great metallic intro riffs.  Still, that sense, though, of being carried away by the continental mood.  Jazzy, jungly, deathy and thrashy, with a strong Latin feel, all at once.  Fabulous, fast pace and beat, with a strong sense of sorcery and excitement.  Always impressive vibes to end on.

Overall – A whirlwind of heady vibes, with exotic flavour and a combo of uniqueness rarely discovered.  I never thought I’d hear myself say that metal and jazz go together, that Latin music could work with death, or that thrash could still stay the course, alongside wind instruments and salsa beats.  Happily, I’ve been proved wrong.  Not only does this rich and eclectic combo work, but it fires things up to perfection.  It’s the first of its kind I’ve heard so far and strangely, for me, I hope it won’t be the last.  A fresh and vivacious inspiration.

9/10 *********

For fans of Santana, melo-death and combo, cross-over and sub-genres of metal.

www.acrania.net   

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