El Mundo Frio (HG Fact)

Whereas 2006 has shown critics stuck on Japan's Boris' fine trick of gluing glam and shoegaze to lugubrious drone on the almost-bubblegum breakout Pink, fellow countrymen Corrupted keep creeping toward the blackest of tarpits at full bore. Corrupted distill the type of frozen metal slow-core first brewed by the Melvins and perfected by Earth, but use it to more expansive ends. Underpinned by classical techniques and unafraid of dropping piano or nylon-string guitars into an oceanic vat of sludge, on skull-pulverizing classics like Llenandose de Gusanos, Corrupted rendered sonic landscapes as seared, bleak, and endless as Death Valley.

El Mundo Frio is the group's sleekest production yet, however, which somewhat tempers the bleakness. Ten minutes of slowly strummed shimmer unfurls before Chew's dungeon-rattling kick drum bursts forth, followed by Hevi's croak, sounding like a dragon mid-gargle. The Spanish-sung vocals (a Corrupted trademark) allude to political genocides, destroyed generations, and dictators. Midway through the 72-minute epic, as minor chords creep along, the band ebbs away. Gravity returns like raining brimstone, but at Hevi's gurgle about "un momento tranquilo," filigrees of harp usher out the album's finale. It's the last bit of warmth before the chill of the real world returns.

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