Released: 2006, Galy Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
The incorporation of non-metal elements into metal music is nothing new. It is, however, difficult to do without sounding awkward or forced. Formed in 1993, Chile’s Coprofago—literally translated as “shit eater”—sound like the name of an extreme grind band but in reality, they are a hybrid of Meshuggah, Cynic, Atheist, Augury, Rush, Textures and HUMAN-era Death. The obvious components of industrialized staccato riffs, barked vocals and double bass fluidly mingle with technical soloing, guitar synths, serpentine bass and lush, ambient soundscapes based on fusion jazz on their third release, UNORTHODOX CREATIVE CRITERIA. The instrumentals sound like film scores and the entire second half of the CD is remarkably different from the first half, so much so that this often sounds like a split CD from two vastly different bands. The dyed-in-the-wool metalheads will get off on the apocalyptic leveling of tracks 1-6 and 13, while the more open-minded critic will revel in the progressive, experimental palette of tracks 7-12, which are mainly instrumentals taken to levels never considered by Atheist and Cynic. Despite the vast polarities, disjointed layout and split-personality of the music, the flawless amalgamation of styles and incredible musicianship is simply breathtaking on UNORTHODOX CREATIVE CRITERIA, making this CD an absolute must-have.
The Meshuggah-isms are right in your face on “Crippled Tracker,” “Neutralized” and “Hostile Silent Raptures” any of which could have been lifted off either of that band’s seminal releases, DESTROY.ERASE.IMPROVE or CHAOSSPHERE. Time changes happen more frequently than a Swiss watch factory and Sebastian Vergara has Jens Kidman’s harsh bellow down to a T, while the cold, industrial riffing of Vergara and Pablo Alvarez is lifted right from Fredrik Thordendal’s playbook. What separates Coprofago from fully mimicking the drone of Meshuggah is Felipe Castro, a veritable student of the Steve DiGiorgio school of fretless bass wizardry. Castro’s soloing on “The Inborn Mechanics,” “Neutralized” and most notably “Motion” is nothing short of jaw-dropping. A true master of his craft. Vergara’s exploration of guitar synth yields some extremely interesting passages on the spacey “Merge Into” when coupled with some ethereal keys. “Individual Choice” borders on being a neo-classical jam and the 80s sound to the keyboards is a real throwback to that era’s new age/jazz fusion. “Glimpses” could easily double as a film score and the lush prog of “Motion” is riddled with technical riffing and solos that allow each band member to shine. “Constriction” is a straight-forward, mid-paced, death metal barnburner complete with frenzied blasting that kickstarts the throttle during the more relaxing second half and makes sure you’re still awake. “Wavelength,” a track which runs the gamut of Coprofago’s various styles, is similar to what Atheist was doing by its final album, ELEMENTS, seriously dabbling in jazz while maintaining the crunch of metal.
Kudos to Galy Records for once again taking a gamble on an obscure, unorthodox, international band that expands genre lines. Without question, UNORTHODOX CREATIVE CRITERIA will be at or near the top spot of my “Best of 2006” picks list at the end of the year. Coprofago does not shy away from their influences and the music found here is not original but the way it is done is. Everything about this CD is fresh, invigorating and exciting—elements sorely lacking in today’s metal scene. Metalheads are a fickle bunch and it takes a lot of chutzpah to tack on a half hour of jazz and ambient music under the guise of a “metal” CD but rest assured, Coprofago will take you on a fantastic journey and make it well worth your time.
KILLER KUTS: ALL!!