|Review: Schizo - Cicatriz Black|
Label: Scarlet Records
Year released: 2007
Genre: Thrash Metal
Review online: April 13, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (10 Votes)
Speculation is a gratifying pastime. You could lie awake throughout the small hours weighing the evidence that gives us reason to believe our planet is overheated and headed for extinction; the pros and cons of introducing cloning through advanced stem-cell technology, and of course the reasoning behind some of history's most sinisterly heinous crimes. The latter is a pretty good one. Hell, I know for sure that if iPods existed back in the 1940s "Cicatriz Black" would be heavily rotated on Christie's playlists. Wriggling their way towards civilization like the light-starved worms they are, former Italian thrash legends Schizo have returned after a long absence to deliver, astonishingly, the follow up to their debut release "Main Frame Collapse" from the late 80s. As a plethora of EPs and MCDs swooped by, Schizo, under a lot of pressure financially, decided to effectively give up for a prolonged period of time, only to resurface in 2007, with a fresh new line up, under the guidance of founding member, bassist Alberto Penzin. Unfortunately, "Cicatriz Black" isn't half as interesting as the soil they've crawled out of.
Following in the same manic fashion of their previous releases, Schizo distribute thin, cutting, razor sharp thrash in the mould of early Sodom, complete with a blackened sense of all things macabre, focusing their rather eloquent silver tongues on matters such as sex and murder. The music doesn't trail too far behind, being of a rather abrupt, castigatory nature, with mocking hypocrisy scathing every screeching note. Opening salvo "Odium Restitution" is a fast, dirty blast through black metal territory that thankfully fails to outstay its welcome with a perfect balance of time – a minute longer and I would have written off the CD there and then due to its superfluous intensity. Most of the tracks have a rather terse quality, yet it's truly in the breakdowns where Schizo excel; "Seen the Signs Before" rips its centre in half with an awesome riff that swings back and forth like a wrecking ball, destroying everything it comes in contact with. Same goes for the Slayer-esque barrage of "M.G. 1942", which again, has some superb riffing in the middle eight. The fact that Schizo have a novel approach to song writing adds another fruit to the basket; the songs progress from the initial idea to become mini epics of darkness in their own right. Most tracks finish differently to how they started, which at first leaves a sense of bewilderment, but which ultimately flowers into an enveloping metal flytrap. The album is broken up somewhat by the injection of punk and tradition metal influences ala Discharge and Venom, and unpredictably, some rather melodic tendencies erupt from "Shine of Scars" – which sees squealy vocalist Nicola Accurso adopting a relatively articulate singing voice. This however cannot save the album from what it is, which at times is best described by the band themselves. (See "Agonizing")
With artwork by the legendary Lorenzo Mariani (Darkthrone, Mayhem) and arguably decent production from Peter In De Betou, Schizo's latest effort is admirable enough after a few listens, but just like wasps, it lingers around far too long. "Main Frame Collapse" might have been compelling enough to rival the mighty Necrodeath back in 1989, but I think Schizo might have been consigned to the underground by a higher power a long time ago. Future serial killers, however, should look no further.
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