Reviewed: February 2018
Released: 2018, Caverna Abismal Records
Rating: 4 /5
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Old-school German-style thrash metal – with more than a hint of Nuclear Assault’s ferocity – is what you’ll find in abundance on the second album from umlaut-toting whirling dervishes Perpetratör, who oddly enough hail from the Iberian peninsula. The Lisbon, Portugal-based quartet – a core trio of Paulão and Marouco and bassist/vocalist Rick, here assisted by session drummer Ãngelo Sexo – however, worship at the altar of ’80s era Sodom, Kreator and, especially, Destruction (thanks to Rick’s nasally, Schmier-like vocals) and channel that into the turbocharged Altered Beast.
And despite wearing their influences way, way out on their sleeves, its hard not to take a shine to these guys. They are obviously way into the vintage thrash aesthetic, and perform with that sort of vigor and intensity here that is quite exhilarating, managing to capture the sense of excitement of an era when the music was vibrant and new 30 years after the fact.
A more polished and professional outing in every way than their still pretty rad 2014 debut, Thermonuclear Epiphany, Altered Beast pushes everything to 11. It’s faster, more frantic, shreddier, heavier and more infectious all at the same time. Any touring or performing these guys have done over the past couple years has certainly paid off, as they bring those lessons learned here in spades. The album builds in intensity as it moves along – and this after starting on a dead sprint with “Altar of the Skull.”
By time things come to a close with the aptly titled “Hellthrasher” and the absolutely blazing near grindcore of “Black Sacristy” – which includes clean vocal breaks that sound remarkably like Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, though it apparently is guest vocalist Flávio Lino – Altered Beast will leave you utterly spent. Yet for all of their aggression and hyperactivity, Perpetratör haven’t forsaken song craft. Brisk as they are, the tunes are tight, tidy and quite likable.
Far from mere recyclers, Perpetratör instead seem more of an old school band reincarnated. The band manage to match their idol worship with a passion and sheer abandon that is impossible to resist – no matter how weary you may have grown of “rethrash.” And in the end, Altered Beast is a pleasant surprise that sets the thrash bar – in whatever form – pretty high for the rest of the year.