Released: 2009, Massacre Records
Reviewer: Mr. Rock
Formed in the early nineties in Santiago, Chile, Criminal is a brutal blend of thrash, death metal and hardcore (though thrash leads the way). Always pummelling, often melodic, their latest release, entitled WHITE HELL, is a contagious group of powerful metal songs. In fact, this is one of the most catchy albums I’ve heard in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still brutal…just memorable.
Lead belter Anton Reisenegger sounds like a man possessed; his vocals a combination of death growl and thrash screechy brutality. He could/should/will be running in the big leagues very soon, his vocals are that impressive. His guitar work with partner Contreras is equally impressive. Together, these guys nail it.
I really like the fact that songs on White Hell aren’t too long. A lot of bands these days seem to be writing 6 minute plus songs, and to hear these 3-4 minute bashers is really refreshing. The are fast, to the point, and about as intense as they come. Nothing like a good punch to the face!
“21st Century Paranoia” is a great way to start off the album – it’s fast and memorable. You get a good sense of what you’re in for with the disc by listening to this track. “Black Light” is a chugging number, as is “Strange Ways”. Well, most of the tracks here are chugging, but none of them sound similar. There is some good, solid songwriting going on here, and those riffs are just monsterous! You aren’t going to find any ballads in this bunch. “The Infidel”, with it’s huge guitar riffs has to be one of the highlights here. The band just does not let up.
Criminal may not be a household name yet, but it won’t be long until they are mentioned in the same sentences as Sepultura (actually, they surpass Sepultura in my mind), Slayer, and Testament. This is a talented band, and WHITE HELL is a great album. Check it out.