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Fall Like Rain
Label: Retroactive Records
Time: 18 tracks/
Brazil is not exactly a hotspot for Thrash. Sure, Sepultura is from Brazil but the reason everyone knows that is that they are the only significant Thrash band to come from Brazil! Well, here's a new one. Arnion (Latin for "Lamb of God") is a classic, Jesus loving old school Thrash band.
Listening to Fall Like Rain is like stepping into a time warp. This sounds like 90's Thrash, right down to the raw production. Thrash is a genre with very specific styles, conventions, and sounds, all of which are capably handled by Arnion: chugging on low-E, check; shouted vocals, check; gang vocals, check; insane speed but also mid-paced moshers, check. The cynical may call it derivative, but the metal fan realizes that it is merely loyalty to a very specific and established genre. (Much like how Blues artists also rely on a specific sound for their craft.)
For the most part Arnion favors the mid-paced mosh inducing songs to the speedier ones. This works in their favor, as they also include interesting instrumental interludes, such as an atmospheric acoustic intro on the opening "Visions From Hell," a technique that keeps the album interesting from beginning to end without monotony. They also use a variety of guitar tones, and a guest lead vocalist on a couple tunes who uses a deeper growl. These add a bit of personal flair to the songs, but the band should try to branch out even more from their by-the-numbers thrash in order to create their own identity.
Retroactive received the rights for this record from the Brazilian Black Tiger Company, and remastered the record for its American release. As an added bonus they also include the band's "Refuge" demo- seven additional tracks. Even with the remastering it is obvious that both the demo and full-length had very low budget, poor quality recording. The whole album sounds hushed, I have to play it louder than my other records from the same label in order to achieve the same quality of sound. The rawness has a bit of charm, hearkening back to the glory days of Thrash, but overall it is problematic and distracting.
Hopefully the exposure from this American release will ensure that Arnion has a better budget for their next album. Better production and more time to hone their craft could result in a classic album. Fall Like Rain is no slouch though, and gives promise of great things to come.