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Pentagram Chile - The Malefice Review

by Matt Hensch

"The Malefice" is like the return of an evil Christ in this age of reunions and new releases from formerly obscure metal clans. Often regarded as one of the most important metal bands to have ever hailed from Chile and South America in their underground circuits, Pentagram (known now as 'Pentagram Chile') lived and died in the arms of old-school thrash/death metal la Possessed with only a handful of minor releases left to immortalize its wickedness. Whatever the reason, be it cult status or an undying lust for death metal, Pentagram Chile reformed once more in 2012, and a year later released its first full-length record nearly three decades after the band's ugly, demonic head emerged from the dragon's womb. Needless to say, "The Malefice" is pretty damn fresh for being a molten hunk of malice that had been simmering in Hell for the past few decades, the coat of demon entrails notwithstanding.

One must keep in mind that although the music throughout "The Malefice" is a primordial take on the thrash/death metal blueprint, it is far from a revivalist replication: Pentagram Chile was on that unhallowed ground even before pioneering acts like Cannibal Corpse or Deicide emerged from nothingness, and the band's importance is colossal. Regardless, "The Malefice" is not a rerecording of old demo tracks, but nine anthems of hellish power bearing the integrity and honesty of Pentagram Chile's former glories; they sound like an exact continuation of the group's first era, loyal to the letter. This is intense, tumultuous death metal which long ago plowed through the cusp of thrash: the byproduct is a dark, forthright effort layered in straightforward riffs, hostile percussion patterns, and acidic vocals, all of which encapsulate a prime progeny of metal's elder elites.

In a broader approach, Pentagram Chile's style has a fundamental grasp on the indigenous concept of the thrash/death metal method, one that doesn't pretend to appear authentic, but actually is authentic. The pedigree of guitar work often walks a thin line between thrashy sections and prototypical death metal riffs, and slow, mid-paced crunches that weave into the carnage excellently. There are some nice chaotic parts as well, in particular a section of "Prophetic Tremors" that boasts a riff that sounds totally unorganized and frenzied against a ceiling of blast beats. Beyond that, "The Malefice" is ravenous and bloodthirsty death metal that sounds as if it had been held in a crypt for twenty-eight years before finally being released into the world once more.

The production, too, aids the content and quality of "The Malefice" considerably, as it steers clear of the usual modern metal sound that would've ruined something like this, and instead opts for a raw, meaty atmosphere that gives "The Malefice" the auditory justice it deserves. Schimer and Tomas Lindberg show up here in brief cameos on "Spontaneous Combustion" and "Sacrophobia," respectively, though their appearances are very minor to the overall substance of "The Malefice" but enjoyable nonetheless. In essence, the gentlemen of Pentagram Chile have returned to their grisly, decayed kingdom after years of traveling through the wastes, and "The Malefice" is everything that it should be. Hell, it's like they never left in the first place.

Pentagram Chile - The Malefice


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