Reviewed: [February 2021]
Released [2020 Self-Released]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Well, if Portugal’s Rageful actually sucked, the title of their debut album would have been an easy launching pad for whatever ham-handed cheap shots one might have wanted to make at the melodic death metal band’s expense. But they don’t suck, and indeed Ineptitude shows Rageful – which once went by the moniker Wall Of Death – offering well-honed chops, a righteously angry lyrical stance and a pretty damn vicious delivery.
With its razor sharp, quick-cut riffs and lithe rhythms, the band’s sound recalls The Black Dahlia Murder – turbulent, with a techy/proggy flair but plenty of bite and heft. Guitarists Claudio Santos and Ricardo Pato are sleek yet effectively tight combo here, laying down a barrage that nicely balances heaviness, velocity and dexterity. With most of the songs clocking in at a tidy three minutes and change, there is little room for wankery, and these guys wisely cut to the chase and stay there.
The aforementioned heft is accentuated by frontman Leonardo Bertao’s flame-throwing “Corpsegrinder” Fisher-like bark that transforms what might otherwise be a reasonably catchy effort into something far more brutal – though certainly still palatable. It definitely lends some weight to the themes of self-interest, greed and corruption behind the lyrics here, and drives those sentiments home with authority, even on more cliched tunes like “Unsocial Network.”
But the rampaging closing number “Portugal The Torch” ably captures how so many of us feel as our dear leaders fail time and again to serve with honor and protect the citizenry from, well shit, you name it – disease, extremism, inequality, authoritarianism, disinformation or climatic flux that seems bent on either drowning or incinerating us all. “You are on your own,” Bertao bellows as the song comes to a close. Indeed.