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Korzus - "Discipline of Hate" (CD)

Korzus - "Discipline of Hate" CD cover image

"Discipline of Hate" track listing:

2. TRUTH (3:38)
3. 2012 (2:43)
5. MY ENEMY (3:36)
6. REVOLUTION (3:06)
7. NEVER DIE (3:44)
8. SLAVERY (3:52)
12. HELL (3:32)

Reviewed by on November 30, 2010

"The new album, 'Discipline of Hate,' still sounds like Slayer, despite the touches of other popular bands like Sepultura and Zakk Wylde thrown in. But ultimately Korzus can’t capture the essence of Bay Area thrash to make a good album."

Rhetorical question: how many bands sound like Slayer? The rhetorical answer could be any number up to about a billion and still be correct. At least Korzus has an excuse – it started its combination of Brazilian and Bay Area thrash in 1983, which was well before Slayer became the behemoth it is now. The new album, “Discipline of Hate,” still sounds like Slayer, despite the touches of other popular bands like Sepultura and Zakk Wylde thrown in. But ultimately Korzus can’t capture the essence of Bay Area thrash to make a good album.

Now to be clear, sounding like Slayer isn’t in itself a bad thing, as Slayer rocks and there are other bands that would be much worse to ape, so docking points just for that isn’t warranted. But attention needs to be paid anyway - the shout of vocalist Marcello Pompeu does sound strikingly like Tom Araya in both timbre and delivery. Guitarists Antônio Araújo and Heros Trench sure do sound like King and Hanneman trading riffs and solos while barely staying on the rails. So Korzus has set itself up for the comparison and has set the bar itself, fair or not.

So how bad is the comparison? It’s fine. None of the 12 tracks break the four-minute barrier, and they all feature some combination of shouting, layered mid-tempo to light speed riffs, and solo breaks a-plenty. The playing is mostly fast, mostly precise, and is always heavy and headbangable – as it should be for a band that has been going for almost 30 years and features one of the best up-and-coming Brazilian metal musicians (Araújo). “Revolution” is a particular standout, with some of the best drumming on the album and wicked riffs and tempo changes. “Under His Command” also has some interesting bits and pieces and is a good listen, while album closer “Hell” has the best headbanging bits and some of the best solos on the album.

But “Discipline of Hate” falls short in that even straightforward Slayer got a bit experimental on a few of the longer songs, using structure, instrumentation and tone to give subtle colors of change, while Korzus mostly does the same thing twelve times. “Never Die,” which follows “Revolution,” is more of the same. The chord progressions and whatnot just don’t draw blood, particularly because the transition from the intro to the body doesn’t break as hard as it should, and the syncopated riffs don’t pierce the wall, merely coming up to say hello. The album stays in the safe zone of speed interspersed with chug and never grows enough to challenge any type of boundary.

A band that has seemingly lacked an identity over its long career, Korzus has covered, at various points, Brazilian thrash (like Sepultura), Bay Area thrash (clearly), hardcore and NYHC, and a former member even left Korzus to follow a career playing samba. So now Korzus is back to a very focused Bay Area thrash/Slayer kick on “Discipline of Hate,” which is great, but the band doesn’t capture the subtle wrinkles that made bands like Slayer, Death Angel, and the like more than just one-note speed freaks. Because of this “Discipline of Hate” is tepid, not tremendous.

Highs: “Revolution” is the closest to breaking out of the shell.

Lows: The bass doesn’t add much, moving from fast note lines to slow note lines without much deviation.

Bottom line: Brazilian thrash veterans completely miss the point on a Bay Area thrash style album.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)