Date: November 6th, 2020
There’s usually an H-bomb set to explode in your face when you push play on a crusty, d-beat death metal band. Just take Turbocharged or Hereza into account. You need to be left with a hangover and the aftertaste of cheap whiskey and even cheaper cigarettes once the album stops spinning. But it seems different rules apply to “an El Paso hellhole”.
“Mala Suerte” is the second full length record by the Texan quartet. According to the press release, this is their attempt at rectifying what was done wrong on the debut. Having not heard it, I can’t quite say if it is a successful attempt. What I can do is make a few remarks about the new album.
What first caught my glimpse is that, though Swedish sounding, Sabrewulf takes their death metal influences from Florida, for the better part of this release. That recognizable heavy brutality is omnipresent, while the Swedish originators are there just in a couple of hints. Mostly in the overall sound which strives towards that raspy, rusted scratch. Though there is a notable presence of some Dismember or Grave melodic solutions.
Furthermore, energetic punk (or even hardcore) intakes are left somewhat in the background, emerging from time to time, primarily in the rhythm department. Unfortunately, this way Sabrewulf has lost a bit of their power. Especially since they do enjoy a frequent slowdown. And then you get to the middle portion of the record where stoner rock comes into picture. And actually takes over for a couple of moments. Like in the closing, title track, which is completely laced in the slow burning of a bong smoke. Not to mention the unnecessary take on R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” in the fifth track. While it may make “Mala Suerte” a bit more versatile, it will definitely leave the listener wondering about the very intention behind such moments.
Apart of that, this USA vs. Sweden death metal rumble is very much enjoyable. Perhaps not the best of the genre, but certainly not the worst. Sabrewulf are missing a hook that will leave their imprint deeper in your memory, but they do an honest work at portraying a universally acceptable death metal record. My impression is that they still haven’t gotten to a point where they want to be. Their desires, mentioned in the press release, are probably not yet fulfilled.
Third time is the charm.