When one thinks of South America, chances are you don’t often think of black metal and icy cold atmospheres. Hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Los Males Del Mundo are here to redirect that train of thought. Following in the footsteps of legendary Brazillian bands Sarcofago and Mystifier, LMDM are bringing the freezing cold soundscapes of traditional black metal south of the Equator.
LMDM are on their debut album Descent Towards Death. Billed as a “conceptual journey” that “drags you into the darkest and most remote places of the human soul”, the album is a reflection of an internal battle that takes much of its influence from philosophy as well as late 90’s melodic black metal. Though the album only contains five tracks, it’s runtime clocks in around the forty-minute mark as bookended by two opuses of ten and twelve minutes each.
Album opener ‘Falling Into Nothing’ sets the scene with it’s cold, sparse clanging guitars before building itself up into an almost uplifting, post-rock soundscape. Like a steam locomotive gaining speed, the track changes pace once again, this time with the addition of Tee’s high-pitched and shrill howling. It’s enough to send shivers down the spine, think Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth) or Dennis Mikula (Ghost Bath) shrieking over the more atmospheric parts of Immortal songs.
‘The Silent Agony’ is the first track to be released from the album and rightly so, it gives a perfect insight as to what to expect from Descent Towards Death. Fast and aggressive from the get go, this track is ferocious but also perfectly demonstrates the use of ambience and atmosphere. Lyrically, ‘The Silent Agony’ also adheres to the band’s other core influences. Lines such as “deep down we know that what we call life is merely a slow death. We are dying but we choose to forget it” and the repetition of “life without meaning”, prove that whilst atmospheric in sound, LMDM are also expanding into the bleakness of the DSBM (Depressive, Suicidal Black Metal) sub-genre.
Though DSBM usually deals with self-worth and depression, Los Males Del Mundo have taken a slightly more educated approach. These songs are less about self-worth and more to do with feeling tormented by life itself. Personifying it as their oppressor, that ‘life is pain’ and we merely exist without reason or purpose. Interestingly, a stark contrast to the values of the band’s label Northern Silence who state that despite not having any political agenda or affiliations, their founder does however follow the ancient Hindu way of Advaita Vedānta, a way of seeking liberation through knowledge to achieve enlightenment.
Throughout Descent Towards Death it’s relatively easy to spot certain influences in style, ‘Nothing But A Lie’ uses much darker guitar tones and weaves in and out of tempo changes, reminiscent to those of Norwegian icons Darkthrone. Whilst ‘The Heavy Burden’, as a closer, builds momentum and maintains the overall atmosphere of the record. The addition of slightly obscure guitar solo sounds somewhat out of place, therefore making closing moments of the album feel a little less natural and slightly forced.
Los Males Del Mundo haven’t reinvented the wheel here, but then again no-one was asking them to do so. Despite one or two minor inconsistencies, usually in vocal patterns which on reflection do add to the overall madness and insanity of the record, Descent Towards Death is a fantastic debut and even though 40 minutes in length, the album feels as if it’s over all too soon. Descent Towards Death is sure to propel LMDM forward and stamp Argentina firmly on the Black Metal map.