Metal Review – Personal Device: Microorganismos del Mal

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Metal Review – Personal Device: Microorganismos del Mal
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Personal Device: Microorganismos del Mal
Crossover Thrash Metal
Gomorrah Records
May 5th, 2014
Release length: 38:33
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2007 saw the rise of the Bogota, Columbia’s four-piece Thrash Metal group Unheilbar. Other than live shows, there wasn’t much to go by with this group outside of the 2010 self-released EP titled Thrash Instead of Getting Mad. This marked their first studio release, as well as their last under that monicker. For 2014 they changed their name to Personal Device and find themselves signed to the recently formed Gomorrah Records to issue their debut full-length album titled Microorganismos del Mal. But should fans of Thrash actually take notice, or is this an album of wasted potential best left unacknowledged?

Well, Microorganismos Del Mal does a lot more right than it does wrong. First of all the audio quality isn’t too robust, but really it doesn’t need to be. The group’s Crossover Thrash Metal played straight suits the slightly thin analog quality, perfectly capturing the fun eighties Metal spirit of legends like Anthrax and Suicidal Tendencies, even the modern heroes of Municipal Waste. The clean start to “Secuencia 0.1” wouldn’t have you expecting this, but about thirty seconds in you’re greeted with some catchy upbeat two-step music that puts a heavy focus on the twangy bass to really grab you instead of relying on the subtle hooks that exist here. While a good representation of the album as a whole, not to mention a solid track as well, it’s far from the best of what this release has in store for the listener.

“Microoganismos del Mal” may be the shortest track of the release, but it’s a fun performance that takes full advantage of simple structuring with constant hooks that insist you either bang your head along or commence the dancing if that’s your sort of thing. This is also a great introduction to “N.M” and it’s Punk-heavy foundation with shades of the aforementioned Suicidal Tendencies in the main verses. “Thrash Instead of Getting Mad” makes for a good life mantra for the Metal fanatic, not to mention a solid cut all around. This is thanks to the tight guitars and two-step drums during the faster passages that help establish some Punk rebellion, a sensation that exists throughout no matter what speed. Then there’s “Personal Device.” This does actually head more into the Punk field, especially at the start, but there’s no ignoring that So-Cal touch, especially about a minute and thirty seconds in.

While Microorganismos del Mal prides itself on the fun material, not all the songs end up that way. “Polemic Staff” comes off with an impact more like “Secuencia 0.1” in fact, but the faster riffs give it some additional bite. Things do seem to slow down to accommodate the guitar solo that surprisingly treads into some rather epic territory that is never to be ventured again. “Suicidal Genocide” is incredibly abrasive overall, especially with the break that hits about half way through the song, leading to a slow yet powerful guitar solo that sets up the only genuinely dark segment this album has to offer. The chorus has some held melodic riffs with harmonized rougher vocals and gang chants that leaves you conflicted. Even though it sounds great, this change just seems like too large a leap for what the band is trying to achieve.

The one flaw Personal Device does end up guilty of here is that the language barrier is skewed. Much of the album is actually in Spanish, but when you hit “Polemic Staff” it changes direction and finishes in English. While it isn’t really a detrimental issue that takes away from enjoying the album, not to mention appreciated if you don’t speak the first one, it’s just something that kind of rocks the boat and makes you wish they had stuck to one language, or at the very least did one or two in another. This is due to the songs performed with the band’s native language sound tighter all around, while those in English come off a little less confident at first. Thankfully they do get more comfortable as the last half goes on.

If the Thrash Metal genre were to ever have a “feel good hit of the Summer” category, this would sum it up. While Microoganismos del Mal isn’t the most vibrant diamond in the rough, it’s still a really fun throwback to the days of early Crossover Thrash Metal that fans of the genre will openly embrace. There are a few songs from the band’s earlier Unheilbar days including “Thrash Instead of Getting Mad,” “Suicidal Genocide” and “Screams!” from the initial EP, and hearing the evolution going on with this debut is enough to make you want to hear their next outing as soon as possible. Until then just break out your favorite six-pack and denim, gather your friends, and make Microorganismos del Mal the soundtrack for the long-forgotten Metal party night.

01. Secuencia 0.1 – 4:10
02. La Ciudad – 4:35
03. Screams! – 2:39
04. Microorganismos del Mal – 1:43
05. N.M – 3:34
06. Polemic Staff – 4:36
07. People – 4:52
08. Suicidal Genocide – 4:43
09. Thrash Instead of Getting Mad – 3:47
10. Personal Device – 3:53
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

Personal Device
Personal Device

Digital review copy of this release provided by Gomorrah Records.