Reviewed: October 2021
Released: 2021, Metal Blade
Reviewer: Paul Macmillan
A new Criminal album. Always a good shout. Sacrificio makes it 9 long-players for the Chilean mob, and marks 30 years of their existence.
Here encompassed is an explosive, razor-toothed supply of dark, urban thrash. In some ways, it feels like the genre which got many of us into proper metal has gotten a little… silly? Make no mistake, though. Criminal are most certainly not messing about. This is a tangibly serious release. I also mean that in the sense that you can feel the catharsis for the band. Reisenegger and co. really seem to have needed to, and succeeded in, getting something off their collective chests. This is far from clumsy angst, though. Simple, vicious hooks give way to crushingly high-pace riffing through every track, opening up to some truly face-melting lead work.
Some of this would certainly present a challenge to the likes of Mustaine and co. at their peak. However, always there is that tinge of street or hardcore influence. This nicely reflects the fairly recent civil unrest in their home country, and, while somewhat more technical, has undertones of Sepultura’s Refuse/Resist. Like that aforementioned band, there is a tribal aspect, too. It doesn’t overshadow the thrash body of the work, but it is an ever-present atmosphere.
As one who was already somewhat familiar with Criminal, this really made me reflect on Akelarre. That song is definitely housed in the same blend of metal and tribal music, and I would 100% recommend giving their back catalogue a spin. Sacrificio, though, finds the same ingredients more streamlined, seamless, and brought together with one almighty punch. This feels like a new stage in development for a band who, I would say, are already a bit underrated. If you’re looking for some new, visceral thrash metal, get this one in your ears!