Monday, January 28, 2019

EP Review: LONEHUNTER 'Beyond the Portals of Death' (Independent) by Dave Wolff

Place of origin: Franca, São Paulo, Brazil
Genre: Symphonic Death Metal
EP: Beyond the Portals of Death
Label: Independent
Release date: October 22, 2018
Imagine what would be spawned of a collaboration between Megadeth, Death and Emperor and you have ‘Beyond the Portals of Death.’ I just heard of LoneHunter a few days ago and this is their debut EP, but it has already made that much of an impression. The technical and dramatic presentation of their songs further legitimizes underground metal from Brazil, a country long reputed for bands like Sepultura who overcame US fandom by unyielding force and went on to surmount world fandom. ‘Beyond the Portals of Death’ is essential listening for devotees of technical thrash, technical death metal and progressive black metal. The skill and expertise this band embodies, their grasp of what is most appealing about all those genres, and their grasp of the conceptual opus, is going to take you by surprise. An extraordinary amount of application went into crossing over those three subgenres, fitting them together with subtle interplay. Maintaining an abundantly imposing atmospheric scenery, this EP is like a short film that will leave your jaw dropping. The musicianship of the two songs and three instrumental pieces and their production is almost completely without shortcoming as ‘Preludium - What the Moon Brings’ prepares you for this brief passage through the outer chthonian regions and ‘Under the Raven's Shadows’ takes its time to build anticipation, treating you to a few catchy riffs before the vocals suddenly kick in and the song carries you headlong into those regions. Solid percussion and carnivalesque keyboards enhance the hook filled verses and choruses in such a way, you feel you’re listening to a band that took years to perfect their songwriting. ‘Eternal Time’ and the outro ‘Postludium - Beyond the Portals of Death’ gives you more of this calculated riffage, propelling the EP well into classical metal territory, while the shorter ambient piece ‘Interludium - Face Your Fears’ reminds you how darkened your journey is. LoneHunter seems to have mastered the art of the time change here. The transitions from one riff to the next run more smoothly than can be expected from a band who just came out with their first EP. The drums are tighter than I’ve heard from Brazilian metal bands, followed meticulously by the other instruments. A satisfying listening experience, and this is just the beginning. -Dave Wolff

Marcos Junior: Guitars, vocals
Juliano Bonacini: Keyboards

Track list:
1. Preludium - What the Moon Brings
2. Under the Raven's Shadows
3. Interludium - Face Your Fears
4. Eternal Time
5. Postludium - Beyond the Portals of Death

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