In Colombia’s Metal scene there are very few groups that seek to achieve a balance between executing powerful and direct sounds influenced by classic referents such as Venom, Bathory and Sabbat, at the same time that they search for their own identity through experimentation not only musical but also lyrical. Always seeking to get “A step beyond” the path traced by their influences. Few try it and few do it like Guerra Total, a band led by their bassist Gerson Toro who has been in front of this group since their inception in 2002 until today, being the longest-serving member of the band.
Marking their ninth studio album and continuing the lyrical style of previous albums that address themes like nihilism, philosophical atheism and misanthropy, Guerra Total releases War Is The Pursuit Of Death: A Hymnal For The Misanthrope. Distributed worldwide by the Russian label Satanath Records who has pressed works by well established bands in the worldwide Metal scene such as Mayhem, Bloodbath and Rotting Christ.
This record through its 9 songs represents a true ode to Black Metal and Death Metal from the late 80’s and early 90’s, adding also elements of Speed Metal that bring us great dynamism to the songs that although they are influenced by sounds of yesteryear, they sound really great because of the high quality of production that allows each instrument to be fully appreciated.
From the beginning, the band’s experimentation is noticed with “Ancient Hymns To The Goddess Of War (Inanna)”, a song that turns out to be an appropriate statement of intentions starting with a clean guitar intro, Thrash Metal signature riffs on the verses and Black Metal arrangements on the chorus complemented by a monumental solo performed impeccably by Gustavo Tobón, who does a great job not only in this song but also in all the songs through this album.
Continuing with “Battle Of Ypres (Song For My Funeral)” the fast transitions between rhythmic patterns typical of Black Metal and Death Metal accompanied by great guitar melodies continue to be present, the same happens in “Black Horror Komando (Symphony Of Hate)”, where vocalist Jorge Díaz manages to transmit with his powerful voice the chaotic atmosphere of this song, entering into perfect harmony with the instrumental arrangements.
Coming into «Hymns Rituals of War and Total Devastation» we find ourselves in the lyrics with a clear tribute to the legacy of great flagship bands of Colombian Metal such as Massacre, Kraken and Darkness (The real ones). Referring to titles of those songs that helped to forge both the legacy and identity of an entire scene.
A key component in the varied sound of this album is the flawless work on the drums of Juan Camilo Porras, who not only imposes a frenetic speed pattern worthy of the purest Black and Death Metal, but also in certain sections of “Holomodor (La Muerte Roja)” presents some rhythmic sections that are unusual in Metal, but which still works in the songs and doesn’t detract from the sound experience.
Wrapping up this great album we got “Whisky Bitch”, which is perhaps the most “Unique” song of this record. Representing a drop in speed and experimental complexity seen throughout the entire album, choosing to be a relatively simpler Speed Metal composition but at the same time catchier and working well as a closure, reminding us that at the end of the day this is Rock N ‘Roll and it’s all about having fun with it.
With many years of experience and multiple albums behind them, Guerra Total doesn’t seem to stop anytime soon, proof of this is this release that it’s easily among the top 3 albums of the band and promises to enhance post-pandemic live performances, also opening the door to the possibility of future killer releases.