Feast your eyes upon the vibrant cover art up above, which was created by that famous connoisseur of the grotesque, Ed Repka. Now imagine it beginning to move, to swarm, to pulsate with ghoulish life.
Actually, you don’t have to tax your imagination, because the video we’re bringing you today does all of those things with Mr. Repka’s creation. And it provides a very fitting accompaniment to the song you’ll hear — “Rompe El Cepo” — which is one of many electrifying thrill rides on Formador, the debut album by Pánico Al Miedo from Barcelona, Spain. The album will be released by a consortium of fine labels in a variety of formats on April 27th.
In crafting their own blood-rushing attack, Pánico Al Miedo have embraced and integrated the styles of both Floridian death metal and Bay Area thrash, paying homage to fearsome progenitors from the ’80s and ’90s. And on this debut album, in addition to enlisting the cover artist who crafted some of the band Death’s most memorable covers, they secured guest guitar solos from two former Death guitarists — James Murphy (also Obituary, Testament) on the track “Formador” and Bobby Koelble on “Cebos Vivos” and the bonus “Formador”.
And to further ensure the album’s quality, they had it produced and mixed by Juan Urteaga (Vile, Testament, Cattle Decapitation, Machine Head, Exodus, Heathen) at his California-based Trident Studios, and mastered by Jens Bogren (Bloodbath, Opeth, Amon Amarth, Paradise Lost, Katatonia, Kreator) at his Fascination Street studio in Sweden.
But of course, the true merit of the album must depend on both the song-writing and the performance skills of the band themselves, and “Rompe El Cepo” provides good proof of both. It really is a thrill ride, and perhaps more accurately the sonic version of a devilish carnival ride, one that can jump your pulse rate up through the roof and leave you wide-eyed, with your lungs pumping for air.
It drives with a panoply of head-hammering, neck-wrecking drum rhythms and features lots of speedy, spidery, sinister fretwork, with riffs that writhe, lash, and frantically dart about (the one they lock into at 2:43 as the foundation for one of several fireball solos in the song is especially tasty). To complete the experience, the vocals (in Spanish) are the kind of maniacal, blood-raw howls that seem authentically rabid. And the song is also very catchy, as catchy as (insert your favorite highly communicable disease).