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Propaganda – The Mask of Sanity

The Mask of Sanity
by Charlotte ''Downright Destructive'' Lamontagne at 01 February 2016, 2:00 PM

A putrid smell. Decaying matter. Slamming riffs, uncontrollable damage and plain ultraviolence. The scene is set. Voilà how Metal, once rapid but somehow melodic, escalated into a homage to the extreme. Glorifying the ugly, concise and heavy, Brutal Death Metalers PROPAGANDA unveiled their true nature with their first record ''The Mask of Sanity'', unleashed in late 2015. If downright immorality first strucks your mind, insane technicality is never far behind. Playing with the short, driven and straight-to-the-point madness, the Indonesian formation teaches us a lesson of intensity, technique and violence. Yes, a lesson in violence. Sounds familiar?

As the record spins, a rather common phenomenon in Metal happens: a powerful mixture of strength and full-on energy which never, ever runs out of fuel explodes. Pushed by an awesome level of heaviness, PROPAGANDA relentlessly attack their auditory, loading every second with triggered blast beats and blistering riffs. Chunky and  syncopated, the quartet exudes control, creativity and great overall mastership. Every second is an outbreak of hundreds of sounds and ideas, working in harmony and falling perfectly into place. Let's be clear here: PROPAGANDA offers no downtime or rest. The first tune fires out and bites you right off the bat, to only ever lower in intensity once the 10th and last song hits its outro chord. Be warned, as your body may only breathe in while the atmospheric noises set horrid imagery and context, constructing the path intended to guide you through the emphasized ramming, pounding and general horror.

The bands music is indeed exaggerated. Everything is blown out of proportion, from the freakishly low and incomprehensible gutturals, to the inexorable drumming which never misses a chance to show off its inhuman endurance by supporting every track with a tight hammered percussion. If Metal promotes abusive use of solos, then be sure PROPAGANDA will go against that convention and give none. The Indonesians prove an excellent sense of discipline and a quality creative process: they fully understand what they are doing and make it feel as if it was meaningful to them, plain and simple. They get it and master it, hands down. In terms of technicality, preciseness best describes the overall spirit they transmit. However, PROPAGANDA also know how to dose in some good ol' tone, proving they comprehend the art of balance between sound and technique. Rather massive, the quartet ingeniously adds a twist of sharpness and absolute dryness in the bass drum's sound, making it impossible for  the listener not to focus on the rhythmic partitions. Offering well done riffs cut into distinct sections, the band then approaches them in different speeds, types of accentuation (staccato, syncopation…) and types of structures (crescendo, descrescendo…).

Violent: every track opens abruptly and generally finishes on the same theme of ferocity. Too badly, this might be the only asset the band has. Around the middle of the record, a sentiment of redundancy creeps up and maintains its place. Though every song, individually, is varied and literally filled with legions of scales, techniques, ideas and thrashing, the overall state of intense chaos stagnates and looses interest. No contrasts accompanied by a lack of newborn emotions just makes a bad combination. When something is pushed to the limit of extreme, it simply falls into a void: no space is left for reinvention. It comes down to plain ramming, plain pounding and plain incomprehensible savageness. You get it, it is a hard listen: too many stimulus acting at the same time creates a feeling of confusion, as if your brain could not concentrate, grasp and comprehend all the waves the music is unloading. It calls for more than one spin and requires absolute dedication, especially considering some tracks merged into each other for the tone and rhythm never changes. For sure, let us not forget that the motto of Brutal Death Metal is to be as destructive as possible in a short period of time, discharging the extreme in all ways possible. Given PROPAGANDA respects this optic with pleasure and clearly  convey similar values and intentions, it becomes justified for the band to exude pure, savage, bloody violence. The feeling is undeniably there.

For the rest, let yourself be guided by the happy outro ''Decomposition'', a moment of rest as the tune depicts what appears to be sulfuric acid melodically pouring itself over someone's last breath. Ah, crazy music for crazy people.

3 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Brain Damage Persecuted
3. Deliver Human Suffering
4. Blasphemous Insanity Syndrome
5. Maniacal Torture
6. Butchery Decomposition Massacre
7. Rejection Living Tortured
8. The Mask of Sanity
9. When Your Body Dies (Gelgamesh cover)
10. Decomposition (Outro)
Arie Peratama – Vocals
Stevanuz Septian – Guitar
Fajar Dian Pertama – Bass
Risky Muharam – Drums
Record Label: Brute Productions


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