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Matalobos – The Grand Slendour of Death Award winner

The Grand Slendour of Death
by Gary Hernandez at 04 February 2021, 3:19 PM

Hailing from Leon, Mexico, quintet MATALOBOS renders a hybrid Melodic Doom/Death Metal. On December 4, 2020 they released their second full-length album, “The Grand Splendour of Death.” The complexity of the title, juxtaposing death with splendor, captures the essence not only of the album but of the band as well. At times they are sonorous and melodic; at others, brutal and unrelenting. Vocals may rise up from the earth, with razored teeth and an unquenchable appetite, or down from the clouds in a solemn choir evoking reverence and calm. There are just so many contrasts at work with this band and on this album. “The Grand Splendour of Death” is a dark, lush work of masterful metal.

Promo materials state that the album is “a musical and conceptual representation of the vast faces of Death.” From the album cover art by Manolo González Zavala to vocals that range from clean, baritone to demonic guttural, I’d say that aptly describes what the album is about. The thing is, as dark as the subject matter may be, it comes across as triumphant and compelling, which is probably the point — e.g., death need not be horrific and evil but can be transcendent and cleansing.

Out of the seven tracks on this album, I probably have seven favorite tracks. Whether it’s the short intermezzo of Spanish guitar, “De Fantasmas y Lamentos” (trans: Of ghosts and laments), or the multi-faceted Prog-proportioned “The Midnight Caller,” there is no style this band is bad at (or at least none that they recorded and put on this album). It goes without saying that there are no clunkers on the album.

So that’s it. This review is pretty much done. What else can I tell you? The band’s name means “wolf killer.” They have a way cool video of “Ignis Spiritus Morte” on YouTube (see link below) which was filmed at Teatro Maria Grever in Leon, Mexico and has the cinematic prowess of Samuel Beckett meets Guillermo del Toro Gómez. After watching it you might weep in awe or you might just stare at the screen in horror or be compelled to read some Borges. I mean, damn, just damn. This album is so good, I even forgive them for using the British spelling of “splendor.” So, download the album, go buy their other album and two EPs, and get yourself some black candles and maybe a lot of salt.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Ignis Spiritus Morte
2. Bondservants
3. Forlorn Hope
4. De Fantasmas y Lamentos
5. Swallowed by the Earth
6. Monuments of Death
7. The Midnight Caller
E. Santamaría – Guitars
Dante – Vocals
C. De Anda – Bass guitar
Germán N. – Guitars, strings
C. Escalona – Drums
Record Label: Concreto Records


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