Tuesday 31 October 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Chivo Negro - "Volume Death"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full length
Date Released: 13/10/2017
Label: Avandadoom Records

Volume Death" is, a valuable new entry to the Mexican doom metal milieu, and this trio ensures you feel every bit of the chill its vision puts forward. 

"Volume Death" DD track listing

1. I. Descend
2. II. Culto del Chivo Negro
3. III. Hypnos
4. IV. Enki
5. V. Reverse Inquisition
6. VI. Ascend

The Review:

One of the worst kept secrets – though still a secret, perhaps due to language barriers, or assumption thereof, since many perform multilingual songs – are the number of high quality, metal, punk and extreme music acts in Mexico. In addition to the widely loved Brujeria, the Mexican heavy spectrum includes everything from Leprosy to Asesino, Introtyl to the emerging crop of new performers, like doom metal three-piece Chivo Negro (in English, "Black Goat"). Hailing from Sinaloa, Chivo Negro has a high bar to reach. Some of the most widely recognized musicians in not just Mexico but all of Latin America, and whole genres of music such as banda, came from Sinaloa. The state has currency in English-language popular culture as an epicenter of the narcotics underworld and ghastly violence, too. No ultraviolence here, however. In the case of Chivo Negro, the action is molasses dense and psychedelic.

The group debuts with its full-length, "Volume Death," as an entirely instrumental affair. You read that right. Not a single lyric is presented on Chivo Negro's introduction to international metal. Other than sampled clips offering continuity, there are no vocals. This sort of step is incredibly risky: band chemistry and song orchestration both become everything and a misstep can sink whole songs or the entire release.

As with any good doom record, "Volume Death" brings audiences a large, ambitious concept. The squad wants to tell a tale of the destruction in religion, nature and humanity wrought by human and otherworldly forces. Because such is a common theme in the genre, the music should reasonably be expected to stand out far more.

Although it is solidly a doom/sludge band, Chivo Negro also features a considerable dose of drone as well as classic metal in its debut album. Rhythmic drumming courtesy of Abel Lizarraga steadies the swells of mood throughout. With the opener, "I. Descend," distortion and dark psych start us off. The air is oppressive as Lizarraga crashes the kit again and again. Even without lyrics, the trio makes sure you feel every bit of the chill its vision puts forward. "II. Culto del Chivo Negro" has one of those aforementioned clips, but it's nearly forgotten when Ramon Arellano's guitar rips into a gargantuan chord. That progression repeats, as bassist Fausto Arellano joins the drums for a tremendous psychedelic jam.

Where Chivo Negro lacks in lyricism they make up for in deep, sheer power. "III. Hypnos" continues the low tunage and noise as the group gets into more of a drone doom mode. "IV. Enki," regarded among some as one of the album's best cuts, continues the drone doom method. At 13 minutes, it is the biggest song on "Volume Death," The sparse arrangement is nonetheless lumbering in that classic doom metal way. As Chivo Negro's last tracks descend, a big question may be what it does with a full-on vocalist, or if this will remain the group's ultimate format, in the spirit of bands like Major Kong. "Volume Death" is, either way, a valuable new entry to the Mexican doom metal milieu.

"Volume Death" is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook