Mental Horror

Proclaiming Vengeance

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Let's face it: Extreme death metal bands like Mental Horror are definitely an acquired taste. They cater to the underground, they are oblivious to mainstream tastes -- and if you don't understand what they're doing, they aren't about to compromise in order to win you over. Proclaiming Vengeance is about as stereotypical a death metal/black metal/grindcore release as one could expect to hear. None of the songs are the least bit melodic, and C. China favors the sort of choked, grunting vocal style that has been one of extreme metal's trademarks. Further, Mental Horror plays at the same tempo (ultra-fast) throughout the album. So when all is said and done, listeners are left with a very one-dimensional CD; in the case of Proclaiming Vengeance, all of the tunes really do sound alike. And there is nothing distinctive about this Brazilian band, which doesn't sound much different from a lot of similar bands that have come from the U.S., England, and the Scandinavian countries. But despite its predictability and obvious limitations, Proclaiming Vengeance is a fun album -- that is, fun in a totally over the top way, and fun if you have a taste for this sort of extreme metal. Again, bands like Mental Horror are an acquired taste; blistering, unmelodic tunes like "Profane Spawn," "Black Spiritual Void," and "Genocidal Inquisition" (all of which are quite mosh pit-friendly) cannot be judged by mainstream standards. In fact, the members of Mental Horror would probably be offended if someone described this early-'00s release as mainstream or commercial. Does Proclaiming Vengeance wear on the listener after a while? Sure. But those who are in on the joke will accept this album for what it is: an exercise in brutally outrageous fun.

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