Review: Kratornas – Devoured by Damnation

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Written by The Black Metal Bitch

Cadiz City is a beautiful and exotic little city on the Negro Occidental Island in the Philippines with a population just shy of 155,000 people. It is well known for its fishing ports, agriculture and farmlands, palm trees and its production of sugarcane. Of course, one thing it is not known for is its underground metal scene.

Kratornas has been in the metal business for quite some time now, originally a three piece outfit called Zamora, main-man Zacharia went solo back in 1995 and has been pumping out music entirely on his own ever since. Devoured By Damnation marks the first full length release under Filipino label Grathila as well as the band’s first release with a focus on production which in my humble opinion is always a step in the right direction. While I can appreciate low production recordings I do enjoy clean, polished metal and this one in particular is one for the Grindcore fans. Kratornas have produced a chaotic blend of the most intense elements of death, grind and black metal – it’s a massacre of machine gun snare drum, meaty bass lines, intricate and punishing death metal guitar work with an emphasis on squealing harmonics and frantic guitar solo. It will easily satisfy the rabid hunger for hardcore fans of the underground.

Opening track ‘Spit on God’ starts off with a low, grinding bass line. There are no sound effects or boring introductions here as Kratornas comes in harder than Miley Cyrus on her wrecking ball with blast beats and aforementioned machine gun snare drum; maniacal black metal vocals are spat at you as the frenzy ensues and driven guitar solos explode out of nowhere. As things progress that low end bass continues to churn and you can feel your pulse quicken.

There isn’t a moment to recover as the album continues and ‘Dead Burning Christ’ is exactly how it sounds: pure Armageddon. Zacharia absolutely assaults the drum kit, there’s some tight thrash guitar work and brutal stomping breakdowns.

‘Archangels of Destruction’ picks up a half second later and it’s more of the same formula, it’s blazing speed and sudden bursts of grind but overall the music and each track have their own identity despite the fact the music itself could make a child cry.

‘Deluge After Massacre’ is my favorite track from the album. It starts off nice and heavy as usual with a thrashing intro before kicking it into overdrive – it’s a good example of the band’s ability to mix up the general chaotic pace of the music. There’s a few great parts of this track where the band displays a more technical side which I can definitely appreciate; I’m not a huge fan of grindcore, I won’t lie, but Kratornas do a good job at keeping things interesting.

‘Evil is Reborn’ is another notable track on the album with its brutal death metal framework and heavy black metal influence present. Title track ‘Devoured by Damnation’ is punishing with its pit-friendly, high charged energy, crunching bass lines and demonic vocals. Zacaharia is a man possessed as he belts out track after track of jaw dropping, face shredding metal; the experience could give a person shell shock.

The album wraps up with ‘World Within Demons’ which is a blend of just about everything. A slow, stomping intro, a violent, death metal explosion of cymbal crashes, snare drum and meat-churning guitar riffs before winding into a slow but vicious bass line as the music fades and I can breathe again.

This album is intense. From start to finish Kratornas is absolutely relentless and have put together one hell of an album with a whole lot of everything in the mix without sounding repetitive. This is not an album for Doom/Sludge fans. In fact, this is the polar opposite of Sunn O))), but fans of the Grind genre will call this their own. As I said earlier I’m not a huge fan of Grindcore but I did enjoy the album, it satisfied my need for something evil and it didn’t disappoint me when it comes to raw talent, precision and energy; it has plenty of all those ingredients here. The production is excellent, each instrument has an identity on Devoured by Damnation – it’s clear, it’s crisp and overall it’s absolutely devastating. 8/10

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