It must be deeply ingrained in my psyche, because every single time someone mentions Brazilian Death Metal I immediately think “Oh Nice! That will sear the flesh from my face!” I seem to have this ingrained notion that their musical remit is only that option, but I am slowly coming to realise that there is far more to their Metal scene than a full-frontal assault of the senses, not that I object to that approach in the slightest.
Sculptor – Untold Secrets (Frontiers)
Release Date: 4 December 2020
Words: Jools Green
Brazilian Melodic Death Metal five piece Sculptor are one of the bands who are helping to re-educate and decondition me.
Had I not known, my immediate thoughts would have been that they were Scandinavian, their sound has a decidedly early Göthenburg flavour, so it is not surprising to find that both this album, ‘Untold Secrets’ and a previous single ‘Oblivion’ (released back in 2018 and which stands as a blueprint for this release), were both mixed at the legendary Fascination Street Studios in Sweden.
Although they have elements of the Göthenburg sound, Sculptor have not tried to formulaically replicate it, which is a good thing. They have taken the core of it and fashioned it into their own sound so it has all the appeal, but without feeling like a samey, over worked sound.
I particularly like the harsh vocals which have a scathingly acerbic tone to them, but with a clarity of content, complementing the light melodic element perfectly.
Frontman Rick Eraser told us that “‘Untold Secrets’ is a very special album because the lyrics talk about our own secrets, because sometimes we are afraid to talk about how we feel, sometimes we want to give up on everything.
“But we need to fight and move on. When I wrote these songs, I was battling depression and music helped me to overcome.
“I hope everybody who listens to these songs can talk about their own Untold Secrets.”
Because of the source of lyrical inspiration the album is dominated by complementary, very haunting, mournful moods and melodies, which appeals greatly to me. Opening on the scene setting ‘Interlude’, a building meld of haunting guitar work, this leads to the first proper track ‘No Control’, where the haunting predecessors build is mirrored in the opening moments of this track.
This is followed by a mix of acerbic vocals and spoken word and midpoint haunting leadwork that reflects the melody, tying the track together, whereas a chugging groove and dark riffs sit alongside deeper acerbic vocals on ‘Redemption’ and then ‘Beyond the Madness’ and ‘Born To Be Slave’ continue in a similar vein.
‘Embrace Yourself’ is slightly different, with opening cleans and more of a doomy leaning and subtle almost symphonic element. It initially seems a bit of an oddball track, but as it progresses, especially when the vocal growls arrive to complement the abundance of cleans, it slips into the flavour of the rest of the album and the more you listen, the more you see into the actual depths of this track. It is a deep one!
Probably my favourite track is ‘Empty Space’ which opens on a sublime haunting opening melody. I love the construction of this track, with harsh brutal vocal segments balanced with quiet wistfully reflective passages and haunting swathes of leadwork.
On ‘Requiem’ I love the spiralling opening riffs, which go on to form the core of the track. It sits so well with the acerbic vocals and pummelling drum work which heralds the track stepping up to the next level, with an engaging mix of cleans, growls and whispers to close.
Another track which stood out for me was ‘Untouchable Truth’. This opens on a haunting, yet pounding drive and accompanying growls, which drop to an all-new brutal level as the track progresses. It is an engagingly dark work with a surprising second half interlude, building back up to a burst of uplifting leadwork and a slightly technical close.
The final track, the dark ‘Watch Rope’, is a meld of dark haunting riffs. It feels in some ways darker than all the predecessors. The brutal growls and acerbic higher vocals sit well alongside each other, with haunting bursts of melody rising up out of the bleakness and an equally bleak midpoint reflective segment, before a return to those dark haunting riffs, closing on the returning haunting melody.
‘Untold Secrets’ is out now as a digital release via Frontiers Music Srl and will definitely have great appeal to fans of Scandinavian Melodeath.