Criminal – ‘Akelarre’ [8]

Despite this being their seventh full length record after over a decade in the extreme metal underground, this may finally be the year where Criminal are able to grab through the soil and resurrect their death/thrash destruction. The Chileans share much of their influences with fellow South Americans Sepultura, and perhaps this is what pushed them back from the finish line. However, latest instalment ‘Akellare’ presents a much more evolved sound, increasing speed and heaviness alike.

There are no breaks in the album for steady interludes but this just means Criminal are able to expose every grain of extremity – be it the melodic riffs in tracks such as ‘The Ghost We Summoned’ or the primitive chugs in ‘La Santa Muerte’. The deathly gnarls of vocalist Anton Reisenegger (also in UK grinders Lock Up) help create the ideal package full of punch with ‘Stage of Siege’ being a stand out. The main problem for Criminal is trying to brush off the “Sepultura copycat” label, but with production this fresh and tight, it seems unfair to judge a band for making something great out of an already credited thing. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

 Reviewed by Lily Randall

Akelarre is out now on Massacre

 You’ll like this if… you like it when Mr Thrash and Mrs Death make beautiful babies