When pondering on the topic of metal from South America, more often than not one of the first bands that comes up in discussion is Sepultura. However, it would be a massive disservice to the glorious metal history of South America to just stop there, especially in a review of black metal. Interestingly enough, the Brazilian powerhouse has a connection to the growth of black, and extreme, metal and worldwide — Wagner Lamounier. After taking his leave from Sepultura, he helped form Sacrófago who would go on to release I.N.R.I. (1987), a benchmark album that stoked the flames for the primordial cauldron whose contents would bubble over into various movements of black metal worldwide. Since the landmark release of I.N.R.I. the South American metal scene has blossomed into a continental community overflowing with every subgenre imaginable. More importantly, this burgeoning spring of identity within the subgenres has morphed from ideals of being extreme for the sake of being extreme, to those more introspective, existential, and socially aware.
Enter Argentinians Christian Yans and Dany Tee. The duo formed the black metal project Los Males Del Mundo in 2016, rooting much of their material in existentialist philosophies. The fruits of their labors over the past few years have come to a head with their first full-length offering, Descent Towards Death (2021). The layer of existential intrigue presented on the album is as thick as molasses, and leaves a creeping glaze that lingers in the atmosphere like a haze. Los Males Del Mundo have created a sonic spectacle that can only be described in relation to the arduous nature surround the myth of Sisyphus. This is asserted bearing both the ancient tale and book by Albert Camus in mind. ‘The Heavy Burden’, the last track on Descent Towards Death, encapsulates that ethos of struggle beautifully. Tee’s vocals roar over top of his pristine drum work, while Yans churns out riffs with the harrowing intensity of Abraham holding a knife to his son’s neck at the behest of God.
In a time where more and more black metal artists are turning away from the toxicity that many past artists have left in their wake and focusing on developing a sense of positive, and introspective community, Los Males Del Mundo are helping propel black metal in the Americas forward.
Simply put. It’s some damn solid black metal.
Descent Towards Death is out now via Northern Silence and can be ordered here.
Words: Garrett A. Tanner