Karonte & Bloody Brotherhood – Alliance For Death Domination

Spanish death metal, no matter how old-school, never gets old. For some reason, the nation of Cava, Tapas, Francisco Franco and pole vaulter José Manuel Arcos produces enormous amounts of heavy, brutal and raw death metal. Alliance For Death Domination is a split EP – released by two bands and three labels – that further underscores this. I’ll come right out and say I am not familiar with either Karonte nor Bloody Brotherhood. This is of course a bit embarrassing, since Karonte have been around since 1994, but at least it means that I went into this listening experience with no preconceived notions, positive or negative.

Karonte open with a short intro, consisting mainly of low noises from the instruments, before “El Ocaso” kicks the door down. It’s traditional death metal in a very Spanish vein, with a few clever ideas to keep things fresh. Downtuned, violent and fairly fast-paced, the music instantly creates a sense of urgency and death metalness. The vocals are deep, growling and somehow rabid and complement the music in just the right way. Second track “No Hay Vida Sin Dolor” is a steam engine of a song, chugging alone between slow and middle tempo, also surprising by throwing in a melodeath riff for good measure. There’s a certain Edge of Sanity feeling to both vocals and the slightly ecclectic style. “Dominación” has a similar structure – heavy Morbid Angel style death metal, followed by melodic death metal riffs.

The basques of Bloody Brotherhoord follow with two songs – “In Tyrant’s Land” and “Thousand Years of Lies”. It makes sense that these two bands split with each other, for there are similarities in the basic sound and style. Bloody Brotherhood is simultaneously more techdeath in sound, while less technical in a more literal sense, and also somehow less human for better or for worse. The vocals are closer to Dissection (though slightly deeper), and there are more blastbeats. Furthermore, there are some very strange and interesting guitar segments that have an almost synthetic sound. The arrangements and song structures are dislocated and odd in a way that keeps you on your toes, and work well in tandem with the brutality and authenticity of the tracks.

Both bands have productions which are slightly rougher than Avulsed or other huge compatriots of theirs. Karonte in particular manage to find a very nice balance between clarity and underground feeling, with guitars that are crisp and heavy at the same time. Bloody Brotherhood deserve a special gold star for the bass guitar sound. However you look at it, Alliance For Death Domination is a great piece of Spanish death metal. Pick it up from Dead Sheep Productions, who released it in collaboration with Hecatombe Records and Base Record Production.

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