Short, but not sad, story: Chile, 1991. Four guys, presumably struck on the road to Damascus by what was happening in extreme metal, deliver their album Sunset Of The End under the monicker Apostasy: a hidden gem, after which Cristián Silva and his mates decide to disappear. Fast forward to 2013, when the band reunites as a trio and reissues that album, followed by a series of minor releases and, ultimately, this The Sign Of Darkness under Polish label Fallen Temple.
Besides the fact that Silva, in his grown up years, decided to switch to the pseudonym Cris Profaner, what can we say of this (unfortunately) obscure band now, in 2018? For those who appreciate the genre, we can say that almost nothing has changed. Their fairly technical, vicious thrash metal moves along the same coordinates that divided it from death metal back in the day, a scene that was still evolving in the early ’90s, delivering a delicious ambiguity that prevents it from being some harmless thrash, but also from being too extreme. While the first verses of “Virgin Sacrifice” remind of a pretty young Tom Araya («TormentoooOOOOOR!»), many times the first names that come to mind are Ron Royce and Coroner, with heavily processed vocals and a more rhythmic approach when sheer aggressioni is put aside for a moment (like in the midst of “Strife Of The Tormentor”).
Skullfuck’s tireless and very efficient work behind the drums and the metallic bass, also courtesy of Profaner (author of a fair instrumental intro near the end of the album), are great foundations for the guitars, always under the spotlight, reflecting the attitude and will to smash the world typical of twentyfive, thirty years ago. The lyrics, needless to say, are full of cosmology, esoterism, Satan and sacrifice, something as obvious as it is enjoyable given the genre, despite being nowadays almost laughable subjects.
For Apostasy, just like thirty years ago, there isn’t any dividing line inside that cauldron that consisted of extreme metal and nothing else. As boring as it may sound, especially because I haven’t experienced that era because of my age, I think it’s nice this way. The Sign Of Darkness is a dive into the past, face to face with the ingenuity and genuinity of a fundamental period for the birth and development of some of our favourite genres.