Tavú – Clamor Victorium, Clamor Silentii (self released, 2013)

Tavú – Clamor Victorium, Clamor Silentii (self released, 2013)

Modern metal is a sub-genre that most of the times makes old school metal fans to cringe. Many think about breakdowns and extremely dowtuned guitars upon hearing the term. But not every modern metal has to sound like Asking Alexandria, Suicide Silence and shit like that. There is plenty of modern metal rooted in the foundations of the music we love. And we can find Puerto Rico’s Tavú on the later category. The band was formed in 1996 and has stablished themselves as one of the most dynamic bands in the Puertorrican metal scene, sharing the stage with prominent overseas acts and having toured outside the island plenty of times. Almost 9 years after their debut self-titled album, Tavú are back with their sophomore effort titled “Clamor Victorium, Clamor Silentii” (Latin for “the cry of victory, the cry of silence”). The differences between both releases and the musical growth are inmediately noticeable after the first notes.

Clamor Victorium, Clamor Silentii” opens with the intro “Clamor Victorium“, setting the tone for what is about to be unleashed. “Sin Miedo“, the album’s first single, follows and it inmediately feels like a smash in the face with its utter heaviness and a very chunky groove not too far from “Roots“-era Sepultura or late Soulfly. Here it becomes pretty obvious that Marcos’ vocal delivery has improved a lot through the years and just like through the whole album, he really shines in this one. “Sin Miedo” is straight forward Tavú at its best, and it is one of the album’s highlights. The album continues with “Take A Bow“, the first showcase of experimentation in “Clamor Victorium, Clamor Silentii“. Filled with plenty of Meshuggah and Textures styled riffs, and a very Deftones inspired chorus, “Take A Bow” shows the listener how good modern metal should be done, and guitarrist Joen gave plenty of recognized guitar players from around the globe a run for their money when it comes to deliver quality”djent” styled riffs. “Take A Bow” is one of the best tracks on the album and one of Tavú‘s best songs ever written. “Jack” is next and it basically follows the heaviness of “Sin Miedo” but here the riffs rely more on the death/thrash metal style, quite similar to the sound created by Lamb Of God. “Jack” is a pretty good track, but it lacks that special charm to put it among the albums highlights, mostly due to its straight forwardness.

A System Without Honor” follows and here we are on the experimental side again. The track’s first 2 minutes are filled with fast and heavy riffing with a harsh and clean vocals trade-off and with some of David‘s best drumming in here, before turning into a full Deftones somber deliver. For the rest of the song, Marcos simply performed the best vocals of his career. The passion he put into those lines is undeniable, he was really feeling what he has singing while this unique guitar sound plays on the background. This is the kind of track that brings chills to my spine, and it is not only the album’s best song, it is perhaps the highlight of Tavú‘s whole career. Next we got “Antipoesía“, a song that Tavú wrote many years ago, but here is featured in a refreshed version with better guitar arrangements. “Antipoesía” is a track that can be compared to “Sin Miedo” in terms of the approach, although not at solid as the later one. “Courtesy” follows, a track quite similar to “Jack” but somehwat more experimental and with a killer drumming performance.

Tavú were not shy to experiment with different styles on “Clamor Victorium, Clamor Silentii” and track number 8 “Words Of Salt And Ash” is another proof of it. Being a very heavy track, among the heaviest of the whole album, “Words Of Salt And Ash” also features great melodic clean vocals lines, quite common in progressive metal. The balance created between the aggression and the melody in this song is just perfect, making it another of the album’s highlights. “Apología” follows the path of “Sin Miedo” and “Antipoesía“, but it can be pointed as the weakest of the 3 tracks, but still a solid offering. “My Kingdom Falls” is next and here we got the heavy/experimental dose again, as plenty of Strapping Young Lad/Devin Townsend can be heared in here. Filled with solid riffing and drumming, along with more great vocal lines, “My Kingdom Falls” is just another slab of awesomeness. Just as if what we have previously witnessed was not good enough, Tavú closes the album with what can be considered their most atypical song. “Clamor Silentii” is a mid-paced track with plenty of melodic death metal styled riffs, and with perhaps the band’s most melodic arragement ever. Here again, Marcos truly shines on his vocals, and I would even say that the melodic style of the song makes him shine more. One would have expected another kind of closing track after all the heaviness for the most of “Clamor Victorium, Clamor Silentii” duration, but the guys decided to surprise us with a song that can be considered to does not fit the rest of the album, but that at the same time “Clamor Silentii” wraps it up in a perfect way. Bravo for that!

Clamor Victorium, Clamor Silentii” is just a lesson on how to approach modern metal with your feet firmly rooted in the foundations and the guys somewhat managed to carry us into a musical journey of 46 minutes without really any letdowns. The sound quality overall is magnificient and includes collaborations with award winning sound designer (and ex-Tavú bass player) Cesar Dávila-Irizarry, known for his musical composition of the “American Horror Story” theme song, and was mixed and mastered by legendary Puertorrican sound engineer Leo Álvarez. As previously mentioned, Marcos‘ vocal delivery takes the cake this time as his perfomance could be ranked among the best I have ever listened within the style. “Clamor Victorium, Clamor Silentii” was an album that took a lot of effort and time to be completed, but in the end it is worth every single drop of sweat put into it. “Clamor victorium” indeed.

HMT Rating: 9/10

Clamor Victorium, Clamor Silentii” was released on June. The track listing is as follows:

1.     Clamor Victorium                   01:36

2.     Sin Miedo                                    04:24

3.     Take a Bow                                 05:00

4.     Jack                                                05:18

5.     A System Without Honor    03:52

6.     Antipoesía                                  03:30

7.     Courtesy                                      04:59

8.     Words of Salt and Ash        04:50

9.     Apología                                     04:10

10.     My Kingdom Falls                04:16

11.     Clamor Silentii                      04:27

Total:                                                     46:22

The video for the first single, “Sin Miedo“, is below.


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Watain – The Wild Hunt (Century Media, 2013)


Watain – The Wild Hunt (Century Media, 2013)

Sweden has always been a strong exporter of black metal bands, rivaling in quality with the Norwegian scene. In the 90’s, bands like Dissection were considered among the elite. After Dissection demise, fans and the press began to look up for the worthy successors to their throne and plenty agreed that Watain were the genre’s saviors. Formed in 1998, Watain released four full-length albums, getting huge exposure even among the mainstream fans, which gained them a contract with highly acclaimed label Century Media Records. So, armed with a better budget they went on to release their best sounding album to date “The Wild Hunt“.

A band like Satyricon taught us that having better sounding albums with better productions does not equate to make better music. Why I bring Satyricon into this? Because just like the fellow Norwegian superstars did with albums like “Now, Diabolical“, Watain‘s “The Wild Hunt” is a finely produced album but filled with not-so-fine compositions. Watain‘s music evolution dates back to their 3rd album “Sworn to the Dark” where they began to adopt a more elaborated and refined style of black metal. This musical evolution continued with “Lawless Darkness“, but they still sounded like pure Watain at the core. For most of the album’s length, “The Wild Hunt” marks a bold departure from their core sound. Out of 11 tracks, 2 of them are intrumental, opening track “Night Vision” and the 10th track “Ignem Veni Mittere“. Both of them are plain slow and doomy with some black metal riffing here and there and none of them can be considered as great tracks since they are just filler material.

De Profundis” blasts off with some pretty cool tremolo riffing surrounded by a melody after each main riff that sounds just like removed from Possessed‘s classic “The Antichrist“. The song’s trading pace from fast to mid-tempo, along with the aforementioned melody and Erik evil vocals make this track a very solid one, among the album’s highlights. “Black Flames March” follows, and it is a 6-plus minutes mid-paced song with a heavy Behemoth and Bathory feel into it. Unlike Behemoth’s stuff, “Black Flames March” does not go anywhere after the first 3 minutes, making it a very repetitive and monotonous effort. Yeah, it sounds like black metal, but close to the late Satyricon field. “All That May Bleed” and “The Child Must Die” are fairly similar songs that are rooted in the NWOBHM style with some Priest styled riffing and extremey good guitar solos. Although both tracks are extremely well executed and are surely catchy as hell, deep at the core, none of them sounds like the Watain we used to know.

They Rode On” follows, offering us the first “what the fuck” moment of the album: acoustic guitars and clean vocals. Yes, you read it well: clean vocals. There’s nothing wrong with clean vocals in any metal style, but the issue here is that Erik’s clean vocals sound like a washed out version of Tiamat‘s Johan Edlund mixed with late Quorthon. In fact, “They Rode On” is just 8-plus painful minutes of doomy stuff like mid-90s Tiamat and “Blood On Ice“-era Bathory. We all are aware of the huge Bathory inspiration in Watain, but they miserably failed at trying to recreate the epic atmosphere that permeated on “Blood On Ice“. This is a typical case of experimenting gone wrong. “Sleepless Evil” is next and just like “De Profundis“, it is filled with killer riffs and a great fast pace making it 5 minutes of pure black metal onslaught and another of the album’s highlights.

But since we all know that good things don’t last, Watain delivers us just another slab of  Blood On Ice“-styled stuff with the album’s title track. On this one, as opposed to “They Rode On“, they feature some black metal-styled vocals, but the result is just the same: a long song that tries hard to sound epic but turns out as somewhat boring. “Outlaw” is next, and again we are back into the black metal ground. Filled with great riffing and flawless drumming, along with the aforementioned Possessed vibe mixed with a strong NWOBHM feeling, “Outlaw” is simply the best song on the album. After the already mentioned instrumental track “Ignem Veni Mittere“, the band wraps “The Wild Hunt” with the 7-plus minutes “Holocaust Dawn“, perhaps the most experimental sounding track in the album, but finally they nailed it right when it comes to experimenting. “Holocaust Dawn” is utterly heavy and dark, and the evil atmosphere that it creates is the perfect one to ends on a positive note a not-so-good listening experience.

The Wild Hunt” is not the kind of album that I hoped from the mighty Watain. I really applaud Erik’s willingness to do something different, but sometimes simply having the willingness is not enough. We have witnessed plenty of bands doing bold changes in their music and succeed at it. In Watain‘s case, they have not completely failed but all we got is a sub-par effort, filled with many good ideas that were not fully developed or pushed in the wrong direction. Perhaps, that old saying that goes by “if it isn’t broken, why fix it” is totally true after all.

HMT rating: 6/10

The Wild Hunt” will be released on August 19th via Century Media Records. The track listing is as follows:

1. Night Vision                    03:38

2. De Profundis                  04:33

3. Black Flames March      06:20

4. All That May Bleed          04:41

5. The Child Must Die         06:04

6. They Rode On                 08:43

7. Sleepless Evil                 05:37

8. Wild Hunt                         06:20

9. Outlaw                              05:07

10. Ignem Veni Mittere       04:39

11. Holocaust Dawn            07:07

Total                                 01:02:49

All That May Bleed ” stream



The Child Must Die ” stream



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