ReviewsThe Troops of Doom – A Mass to the Grotesque (Alma Mater...

The Troops of Doom – A Mass to the Grotesque (Alma Mater Records)

A Brazilian band that contains original Sepultura guitarist Jairo ‘Tormentor’ Guedz, The Troops of Doom formed in 2020, quickly issuing three EPs and their debut album Antichrist Reborn. Signing with Alma Mater Records, the record label led by Moonspell frontman Fernando Ribeiro, we arrive at their sophomore full-length A Mass to the Grotesque and its early affinity for classic thrash/death is evident as the quartet possesses the requisite primal passion for these genres through a steady supply of quality riffs, anger, and energetic resolve. Recording the album with André Moraes in Brazil, the group would seek out mixing/mastering work from Jim Morris of Morrisound Recording in Tampa, Florida to ensure more of that throwback sound to separate the group from the digital commotion currently penetrating modern records as of late.

When it comes to the songwriting and performances, these gentlemen inject the deadly speed or active transitions with the right amount of gallop or tasteful musicianship interplay that keeps listeners well-engaged for what will be pulled off next. The dual guitar rhythms and fluid solo breaks from Jairo and second guitarist Marcelo Vasco pull from the early Slayer, Sodom, and obviously Sepultura, delivering some jaw-dropping manic taps or fluid runs against stairstep stop/start tradeoff action to make “Denied Divinity” and the follow-up “The Impostor King” early standouts (the latter featuring some sick blast beat / fill activities courtesy of monster drummer Alexandre Oliveira). Bassist Alex Kafer also doubles up as a vocalist, his delivery potent in that semi-hoarse spitfire to growl manner that much like his predecessors Tom Araya or Max Cavalera commands your attention right from the get-go for “Chapels of the Unholy” while methodical yet no less sinister in the mid-tempo churner “Blood Upon the Throne”. Although most of the material sits in that comfortable four to five-minutes and change sweet spot, “Psalm 7:8 – God of Bizarre” at over eight-minutes explores a more epic, progressive side of their songwriting, the catchy diversity of the riffs, tempo changes, and left field textures more in tune with classic Death angles.

Add in a supreme Dan Seagrave cover piece and it’s easy to understand where The Troops of Doom come from when it comes to that exhilarating early 90s death metal period laced with some blistering thrash on A Mass to the Grotesque. Hopefully able to make up for lost time on the live front now with all these releases, it’s great to continually hear in 2024 artists that can channel the early intensity and spirit of those beginning days of the movement that’s still vital this many decades later.

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8.5 / 10