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Halluxvalgus – Reflections of Distant Dreams Award winner

Halluxvalgus
Reflections of Distant Dreams
by Alex Barnard at 23 July 2021, 2:58 PM

HALLUXVALGUS is a Death/Thrash Metal Band from Puerto Montt, Los Lagos, Chile. “Reflections of Distant Dreams” is the group’s debut album, released by Burning Coffins Records on April 28, 2021.

Upon first listening to this album, my immediate assessment was that HALLUXVALGUS’ sound combines the speed of EXHORDER, the brutality of POSSESSED, and the lo-fi, almost psychedelic charm of “Infest the Rats’ Nest”-era KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD. Horrorhammer’s riffing is bold, fast and melodic, yet his guitar sound is barely distorted, recalling the saturated glory of the early VAN HALEN records. It’s almost as if most of the distortion in his sound is coming from the sheer ferocity with which he plays. Old Ripper’s drumming is lightning fast, executing sharp snare rolls and blast beats with ease. Finally, Spectre’s vocal delivery is horrifying, reminiscent of Chuck Schuldiner’s delivery on the classic DEATH album “Scream Bloody Gore.”

What amazes me is just how trippy, lo-fi and almost Garage Rock this album sounds, and yet it still works. In past reviews, I’ve stated that lo-fi production doesn’t really work with the stylings of Death Metal. I may need to modify that earlier statement. In most cases, lo-fi production does not work for Death Metal because it always feels like that’s the band’s way of saying “we wanted a better producer for this but instead we chose our best friend because they can record us for free.” This is clearly not the case for HALLUXVALGUS. On the contrary, here the lo-fi production adds to the overall brutality of the album. The music is heavy as hell and speaks for itself, but the production adds a real Punk Rock, zero-fucks-given feel to the record, making it that much heavier.

The album opens with “Ghastly Fascination,” a brutal track whose opening riff transitions smoothly into a hellish, triplet fueled landscape created by Spectre’s vocals. “Murderous Instinct” follows, with a catchy-as-hell riff from Horrorhammer that once again brings us into mosh-pit worthy madness. “From the Echoes of a Deadly Chest,” begins with an almost Ska-like feel with Old Ripper’s fast hi-hat drumming and Horrorhammer’s clean yet dissonant riff making the band sound like the Death Metal version of THE POLICE. “Crawling are the Dead” has a real rip-roaring opening, sounding almost like a forgotten POWER TRIP song (R.I.P. Riley Gale). Finally, the real highlight for me is the track “Hot Puke,” not only for its sophomoric and purely old-school title, but also for its brutal opening and MOTÖRHEAD-on-steroids riffs.

If you like Death Metal just as much as you like old school Punk Rock, you will love “Reflections of Distant Dreams.” HALLUXVALGUS are masters of what they do; they won’t just melt your face like any old Death Metal act, they’ll beat the shit out of you while they do it and you WILL like it. All in all, I think more metal bands could take a page from HALLUXVALGUS’ book and learn to get wild again.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Production: 6
Memorability: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Ghastly Fascination
2. Murderous Instinct
3. Sensless Vanity
4. Hot Puke
5. Morbid Ways
6. From the Echoes of a Deadly Chest
7. Crawling are the Dead
8. Disturbed Corpse
9. Atlas, the Hunt
10. Internal Cryptic Gathering
Lineup:
Old Ripper – Drums
Spectre – Vocals
Horrorhammer – Guitars/Bass
Record Label: Burning Coffins Records
     


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