Straight from the lower reaches of South America is one of the more curious examples of a working model for modern Thrash Metal in OSAMENTA. They’ve been in existence since the mid 90s, which was arguably the lowest point in the genre’s history, but didn’t quite become a real beast to be reckoned with until the mid 2000s when they began cutting full length albums. This rather unique history is actually rather telling in their sound, as they’ve been pretty evenly divided stylistically between traditional and newer influences. There’s plenty of PANTERA, EXHORDER and early 90s SEPULTURA influences to be heard, but also a fairly evenhanded nod to the older guard, particularly that of SLAYER and the bands that tended closer to that hazy line between Thrash and early Death Metal.
While this band is exclusively Spanish speaking in their approach to lyrics, their general themes of political unrest and violence are easy to pick up on within the sonic boundaries of “Subversivo“, the latest of three studio releases. Vocalist Leonardo Lopez shows a level of stylistic versatility and flexibility that is equally able to call upon the older, higher pitched wails of earlier Phil Anselmo days, while also proving to be no slouch at the deeper, nastier grunts associated with Max Cavalera. But even more intricate is the band’s unique blend of idiomatic and catchy melodic hooks within the riff work with a rapid, high speed chug riffing approach that is heavily reminiscent of mid-80s bands, though communicated through a larger modern sound with some traces of latter day Hardcore influences mixed in. At times it sounds archaic, at others almost like a thrashing version of Melodeath, but it stays interesting regardless of what mode it’s in.
One of the better features of this band is that, unlike some of their Brazilian contemporaries, OSAMENTA doesn’t mess around a whole lot with tribal and ethnic sounds. Minus the difference in language, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to hear something like this come out of a newer German or American Thrash band. Some songs are a little better than others, particularly the turbo charged yet fairly groove rich “Algo Por Hacer,” which is loaded with subtle punk influences and even sneaks in a couple overt blast sections here and there, definitely a keeper for anyone who likes things fast, furious, yet with a pretty catchy chorus section. “Bahai Mortal” and “Diez Mentiras” are also solid ventures into crushing neck wreckage with some intense gallop sections. In fact, the quality of the songs is largely determined by how much groove is present in relation to more chaotic sections, as “Clase Mierda” gets a little too close to “Far Beyond Driven” territory for comfort.
As far as present day Thrash Metal goes, this is pretty solid considering that it took almost as much influence from the 90s as it did the 80s, which is usually not a good combination and can collapse into sub-par Metalcore if not checked with a distinct vocal style and a clear tendency towards metallic riffing. It’s not quite as wicked as some of the latter day bruisers to come out of DESTRUCTION’S catalog, but there is a level of commonality between OSAMENTA and said Teutonic trio affiliate. Die hard traditionalists who haven’t liked anything at all that SLAYER has done since “South Of Heaven” might not go for this, but just about everyone else who likes to mosh and throw their necks out will find something to like on here.
(Online June 17, 2011)