Formed in 1997, Poland's Stillborn are, besides being as brutal as hell, fascinating because all four of their full lengths have been of a Spanish theme, an unusual choice given their Polish heritage. The band, consisting of Ataman Tolovy on bass/vocals, Killer on guitar/vocals, Rzulty on guitars and August on drums, create their own unique style of brutal blackened Death Metal and it's not for the faint hearted.
Their latest album 'Los Asesinos Del Sur'(The Murderers Of The South) is a punishing offering. Opening with 'Overture .966', a hate filled forewarning to the listener of imminent destruction, a piercing single note, air raid sirens and slow sinister guitars begin the terror.
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After just over a minute we are into 'Hymn Of Destruction', the pace picks up and the mega fast riffing creates and maintains the sinister atmosphere which continues throughout the album. I love the tempo change before the chorus and the screaming guitars on this track.
The brutish 'Diamonds Of The Last Water' is one of my favourite tracks of the album. I love the raw vocals throughout this album and this track shows the two vocalists at their best. 'Antonym' is another favourite track of mine: chugging guitars with the catchiest riff ever!
Still blackened but with a thrashier feel is 'Son Of The Holy Motherfucker', catchy title, catchy riffs and with a closing line of "You will be assimilated, resistance is futile". I love it.
One track on the album is a bit of a wild card because it doesn't seem to be part of the Spanish theme which runs throughout the album. 'Kot Wolanda' (Cat Woland), inspired, I think, by the Russian satirical novel 'The Master And Margarita' by Bulgakov, is the only one that is sung in the band's native Polish, but still an excellent track.
The album title track, 'Los Asesinos Del Sur' (The Murderers Of The South), is a tale of horror and murder in the name of religion, my absolute favourite and at six minutes is the longest track on the album and is an absolute brutal anthem. The scene setting spoken intro of terrifying proportions precedes crashing cymbals, a sinister chugging repeat intro and the opening line: "Something always lies South of Dawn and Dusk" before the full brutality opens up before you. It's fast, thrashy and devastatingly catchy.
The album cover artwork, very surreal in its nature, by Polish artist Kamil Kukla, fits in perfectly with the lyrics which I also found very surreal.
I could go on and on about this album, ten outstanding tracks of brutal excellence. This band are so underrated it is a crime, as is much of the excellent Metal from Poland.