Last year’s The Rise Of Heresy debut EP was an absolute ripping affair which I had the honour of reviewing. It was a fond harken back to the early days of Sepultura when Jairo ‘Tormentor’ Guedz was in the band, before the critical acclaim and commercial success of Beneath The Remains onwards hit. A more innocent time perhaps.
Joining Jairo once again are bassist/vocalist Alex Kafer, drummer Alexandre Oliveira and guitarist Marcelo Vasco. According to the accompanying promo notes The Absence Of Light is a conceptual work inspired by the book Leviathan, from 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes. This work is regarded as one of the earliest and most influential examples of social contract theory; which espouses the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual. The artwork by Brazilian painter Maramgoni doesn’t stray too far from the Dante’s Inferno style imagery of The Rise Of Heresy, more than anything it looks pretty fucking METAL, anyone with a brain on active duty would be able to guess the type of music contained herein as a result.
The EP features six tracks and opens with the orchestral instrumental Introduction – The Absence of Light, conducted by Dave Deville. If you have ever watched Sam Dunn’s Metal; A Headbangers Journey then you will no doubt be familiar with the strong correlation between classical music and metal, which this track demonstrates perfectly. Act I – The Devil’s Tail reminds me of early Slayer, in particular tracks like Necrophiliac from the Hell Awaits album. The track is a little unexpected and, like the aforementioned Hell Awaits, has more of a progressive bent to it. Fear not however, there is no Dream Theatre or Opeth style noodling here, it’s reassuringly brutal and bludgeoning.
reassuringly brutal and bludgeoning…
Act II – The Monarch features Possessed legend Jeff Becerra on vocals and if you are unfamiliar with that band then I urge you to pick up a copy of Seven Churches, an album that is widely credited with creating death metal (for better or worse). The track starts off slowly with some sumptuous acoustic guitar-work before vocals, that oddly resemble Max Cavelara at his peak, kick in. The track maintains a relatively mid pace range throughout with occasional nods to balls out hardcore tinged thrash. Awesome. Considering Jairo‘s history, it’s unsurprising that a cover of the Seps’ Antichrist is featured, which after the comparatively longer pieces helps to serve as a nice fire breaker. It’s a decent enough version of the original and there isn’t really a lot more I can add with respect to it.
Rounding off the EP are demo versions of Act I – The Devil’s Tail and Act II – The Monarch. I have to admit to not being a fan of bands including demo versions of tracks already on the album/EP, unless you’re interested in the recording process and how the tracks developed, then like me you’ll feel these inclusions are a little redundant. Let me stress there is nothing wrong with the demos per say, it just would have been nice to have had something new to listen to.
It would have been easy for Jairo and his bandmates to have replicated the winning formula of the deservedly lauded The Rise Of Heresy. However, they opted to take a risk and experiment and they managed to do so without sacrificing any of the heaviness and speed we have come to know and love. This makes for a commanding tour de force and an excellent stopgap for the highly anticipated 2022 debut full-length.
Scribed by: Reza Mills