When it comes to willfully over-the-top metal mayhem, South America knows how to get down. Ever since bands like Sarcofago, Vulcano and Sextrash emerged from the darkest, dirtiest depths of the continent in the 1980s, it has developed a devastating regional sound that takes the gnarliest parts of black, death and thrash metal and combines them with punk rock recklessness to create something truly distinctive. Indeed, South American metal bands are continually among the most dedicated and ferocious I’ve encountered, and Bolivia’s Satanic Bloodspraying are proving to be yet another standout entry in the region’s vicious tradition with their debut full length, At the Mercy of Satan.
With eight tracks clocking in at under twenty-five minutes, Satanic Bloodspraying don’t fuck around; At the Mercy of Satan is the very definition of the old “all killer, no filler cliche.” One might expect such a short sharp shock of an album to lack variety, but on the contrary; Satanic Bloodspraying display quite a bit of depth in the songwriting department, and each song feels complete in spite their brevity. In a time when so many metal bands are in desperate need of an editor (seriously, who the hell wants to listen to an hour-long black metal album?), At the Mercy of Satan is a reminder of the power and potency that comes with a concise compositional approach.
As one would expect, Satanic Bloodspraying employ aspects of numerous metal styles, harkening back to the days before the genre boundaries of extreme music were so clearly defined. Their is a catchiness to tracks like “Draining Blood” “March of the Dead” and “At the Mercy of Satan” that is clearly derived from thrash and punk, but this is tempered with surges of black/death-style violence and speed. The sound itself is ugly yet modern, with each instrument clearly audible even when the music reaches a fever pitch, such as on “Wrath of Baal” and the awesomely titled “Satanic Skullfuck.” Satanic Bloodspraying understand that playing unholy, barbaric music doesn’t mean your records have to sound like complete shit; another lesson other bands could stand to learn from these mysterious Bolivians.
At the Mercy of Satan is a an all-out metal assault that will have fans of all sorts of bestial filth howling in appreciation, yet Satanic Bloodspraying’s approach is dynamic and engaging enough to attract metal fans who don’t normally go-in for the primitive shit. The band isn’t reinventing the wheel here, and chances are they aren’t going to be rocketing straight to the top of any year-end metal lists, but goddamn if At the Mercy of Satan isn’t one hell of an adrenaline rush, like mainlining the motherfucking Devil’s blood.