Released: 2015, Xtreem Music
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
One of these days, the blackened death metal duo Stormvold from Spain's Canary Islands will get around to issuing an actual debut album. But for now, the full-length Third Bestial Mutilation – a compilation of two old demos and a new four-song demo that gives this release its name – will have to suffice.
The new material, mixed and mastered at Sweden’s Necromorbus Studio - Watain's go-to - is more fleshed out and potent than the older tracks taken from 2013’s Second Guanche Massacre and 2012’s First Tibicena Brutality, both of which were released together earlier in 2014 as the First Storms compilation and whose curious titles reference ancient Canary Island history and legend. But given that instrumentalist/vocalist Ebola - who's been going by that moniker for some time with his other bands, Cryfemal and Muert, so no one can accuse him of crass opportunism given the recent outbreak - recorded the first demos all on his own that should come as no real surprise.
Ebola is joined by drummer Taenia Solium for the four new tracks, and it makes a world of difference. As does the assistance of an established studio. Though still rough-hewn and rather crude, the new material is meaner, more expressive and brutal - with the riffy “Glorious Blood” packing an especially serious wallop. Stormvold here recall early era Swedish death metal with Ebola's bone-sawing guitars riding Solium's bulldozing rhythms, but also offer some dynamic flair with shrieking guitar solos and shifting tempos to keep from sounding like mere throwbacks.
Solium's limber drumming definitely opens things up here, allowing the new music to be more nuanced and abrasive. The stiff, rivet-gun beats Ebola conjures on the older songs – especially the first demo's “Extermination from Nature” and “Levitation of Bestiality” - gives them a full-frontal single-mindedness that while undeniably brutal is also rather repetitive. He's definitely a more accomplished guitar basher, and his guttural, yelping vocals – which recall both Jeff Becerra of Possessed and Godflesh's Justin Broadrick at his most emotive – are effectively harsh without sounding vomitous.
Given their remote locale and seeming lack of live opportunities, the growth Third Bestial Mutilation documents for Stormvold over two short years is both notable and impressive. Whether they can parlay that into genuine album and begin to establish themselves in the death metal underground - should they even want to – remains to be seen. But Third Bestial Mutilation should at least give Stormvold a fighting chance.