CD REVIEW Terror Empire

Band: Terror Empire
Title: Face The Terror
Label: self release
Distribution: Infektion
Release date: June 15th 2012
Review: MCD

After the Portuguese band Against split up, three members, Ricardo Martins (v), Rui Puga (b) and Rui Alexandre (g), reformed under the moniker of Terror Empire. They teamed up with drummer Gonçalo Marques and guitar player Sérgio Alves (the latter did play in different cover bands, by the way), and they started writing material for upcoming records as well to perform live on stage. The band’s live performances are mainly located in their home country, of course, with bands like Seven Stitches, Pitch Black or Angriff, and a first studio recording became a fact as well in mean time.

Face The Terror, Terror Empire’s debut with a total running time of almost twenty eight minutes, was produced by guitarist Rui, and the whole was mixed, mastered and engineered by Migual Seco (think: Blaze Bailey, Robert Plant, Napalm Death).
What this band brings is rather ‘traditional’ Thrash Metal, of the harsh kind, mixed with some modern elements. These modern elements do not have anything to do with progressive or avant-garde elements, yet with the addition of some groovy rhythms, modern sounding breaks, and the clean (yet heavy!) sound. The whole is especially guitar-driven and comes with a heavy-as-f*ck rhythm section and rough Hardcore / Thrash-laden vocals (including some additional grunts as well).
Even though the inspiration comes from the ‘old school’ scene in general, and then I’m referring to both the American as well as the European one, it is not that easy to put your finger on one act specifically. Vocally, Ricardo Martins might have a voice reminiscent to Mister Cavalera’s (Sepultura a.o.), and an act like Sepultura, certainly the ‘earlier’ one (up ‘till Roots), is a certain instrumental / compositional influence for sure too. What else? Well, Bay Area, Pantera, the German and Swedish Scene (The Haunted) amongst others, and so on. Yet, in Terror Empire’s case is all sounds so natural and honest, injecting the whole with an own identity.
All positive, yet my personal turn-off is twofold: first of all the whole sounds too safe, even though the material on Face The Terror is extremely firm and brutal. I do miss some outstanding outbursts; I’m waiting but there are none. And secondly, the lack of variation in general… Even though this isn’t but a mini-album, I seem to be happy each time when I reach this recording’s finish, just because being subject to almost half an hour of this kind of terror causes a nasty headache.
But in general I need to say that this band is one of the best Thrash-formations from the Iberian peninsula for sure.


Ivan Tibos.