Sacrificial Metal Of Death is the CD format reissue, edited by Ethereal Sound Works, of the eponymous demo released in 2010 by the mysterious Portuguese one-man band Mandibula. This is the classic work that places the reviewer in the uncomfortable position of having to judge an album that, on alternate listens, can appear to be both a genius gimmick and a huge joke. Mandibula tosses us into the time machine by taking us back to the turn of the 80s and 90s, offering us a primordial black thrash with sparse sounds, ungainly vocals and a strong esoteric component; the operation somehow reminds us of what our Nerocapra did in the death sphere, and in my opinion the outcome is quite similar. A certain impatience stemming from listening to plasticized productions in the extreme sphere can certainly predispose one to welcome those who intend to rediscover the essence of the music we love, but it is clear that he will be right to sell, depending on one’s point of view, both those who will consider Sacrificial Metal Of Death as an unmissable evocation of sounds that have been all but lost, and those who will consider that the only appropriate function of this CD is to serve as a coaster. Objectively, can one blame those who say that the record sounds like it was played inside a basement by someone who was segregated there immediately after the release of To Mega Therion, that the percussion entrusted to a drum machine is minimally set up, or that the reiteration of the instrumental parts only serves to hide the lack of creativity? On the other hand, precisely the obsessive repetitiveness of the riffs, jointly with rhythms often lying on evil mid-tempo or asphyxiating doom slowdowns and the vocals declaiming mysterious lyrics in the native language, constitute a pleasantly alienating whole, and one finds oneself wondering by what strange spell such elemental music in its structure and execution manages equally to convey surprisingly positive feelings. In short, listening to this album is a bit like finding yourself driving a thirty-year-old car, with no power steering, no power brakes, thanking your gods that you at least have a steering wheel and seats, with instead of a CD player a beat-up car radio with a cassette tape that twice out of three times jams and, when in doubt about which way to go, instead of a navigator having to be content to stop, roll down the window (with the crank) hoping that the interlocutors are well disposed. Something damned anachronistic and, you will say, on second thought not even too much to regret. But you know what ? I, on the other hand, would gladly take a nice drive in my old Renault 4 (including car radio with cassette player and Mandibula cassette) all things considered even today.

2012 – Ethereal Sound Works