MASTIFAL, Holocausto Mental  (2000, self-released)

The skull:
Dig the skull and crossbones in the logo, which shows great dedication to the BDS way of life. As for the big skull on the cover, he’s going through some tough times right now so will you just lay off? Stuck out in the desert, and just getting used to that bullshit, when suddenly the top half of his bony noggin starts to combust. You get the feeling that by the time you get around to the next frame in the sequence the skull is going to be nothing but dust. Sad really — he was rendered so well. We thought he was gonna make it.

The music:
First, these arrangements are messy. It’s like they came up with riff ideas and then laid them down in the order they were conceived. And the dude’s vocals sound silly, which is unintentional of course, as he’s doing his damnedest to out-Max late ’80s Max Cavalera and making a dumb mess of it, all bloated, dorky-sounding fake hate. On the plus side, every now and then they’ll come up with a really good sequence, like the beginning of “Fabricia de Monos,” and there’s an energy here that’s laudable in its pedal-to-the-metal wildness. But, ultimately, this is sub-Sepultura/post-Sepultura that reminds us of two things: 1) the original is still the best, and 2) Sepultura really, really sucks nowadays. (It’s not all Sepultura worship: I hear shades of Dorsal Atlantica here too.) Props to Mastifal for doing what they do since 1998, and apparently they’ve morphed from the old death/thrash style heard here to a more streamlined type of melodic death metal. Somebody out there likes them a lot, I guess.
— Friar Wagner

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