Mexican death metal quartet, Introtyl, are that rarest of creatures – an all-female group. Anyone who’s followed the debate on YouTube will know this is a topic that generates heated arguments. Should an extreme metal band receive praise and additional attention because of their gender? In the conservative world of metal, two rules hold steady. One, we only take extreme metal bands seriously if the men are ugly. Two, the women must be attractive. But let’s dispense with the identity politics in music and assess Introtyl on the quality of their art. The chances are you’ll enjoy this slab of brutal death metal (BDM) if you give Adfectus the attention it deserves.
As a female Latin American group, it’s inevitable that Introtyl will invite comparisons with Nervosa and Crypta. The quartet don’t discourage this by wearing the t-shirts of both bands, yet the foundations of their music are closer to Suffocation and Deicide. New(ish) drummer, Annie Ramírez, is the lynchpin of the band with her immaculate timekeeping and aggressive footwork. Listen how she adds the technical coding to Rose Contreras’ chugging palm-muted riffs on album opener, ‘Abyss’. You can spin your head and sway your shoulders to the cacophony of swirling rhythms, but you can also squirm behind your raised hands like a blood-thirsty cannibal. ‘Under My Skin’ is the type of murderous death metal Cannibal Corpse perfected in the 1990s but with louder bass vibrations and a pentatonic extravagance that you seldom hear these days. The breakdown riff at the end is nothing like the formulaic metalcore saturation that brings a yawn to your lips. Remember, Suffocation were the first to bring this to the metal scene, and the audio assault here is just like those days in 1992 when the New Yorkers discovered that you can be just as heavy by dissecting a riff to its slower parts for extra impact.
It’s easy to lose yourself in the technical side of the music, but the biggest surprise is the subject matter of the songs. You’ll find no infantile Satan worship or indulgent murder fantasies spewing from the cold lips of Kary Ramos. Is ‘Under My Skin’ the first death metal break-up song ever penned from the perspective of the fairer sex? The chorus to ‘The Flame’ is fascinating in its heartache: “Two bodies merge like never seen before/ Two souls were complete without needing each other/ Two bodies learning the art of loving/ Two souls make words real.” An American band would inject a whiny pop-punk melody here to match the melancholy of the lyrics – Introtyl perform them with the bestial malevolence of Deeds of Flesh! They also show us how to avoid the monotony of modern BDM by balancing the high-end tremolo guitars with the low-frequency rumble of the bass.
Adfectus is unsentimental and unashamed of its objective to put you to the sword with little fuss. Eight songs spread over thirty minutes ensure that you never grow tired of the bludgeoning experience. Standout song, ‘Inner War’, fuses the dark savagery of the early Sepultura albums with the ferocity of Venom Prison and the rhythmic fractures of Ingested. “The darkness fades, the internal war does not defeat me/ Control is mine/ The war ends, the enemy sleeps/ Inner war!” yells Ramos. Is she talking about her own inner demons or a victory for self-autonomy over the nefarious powers that control society? You decide. That’s what makes it so interesting.
On first listen, Introtyl are a competent death metal band. But experience the music with the lyrics onscreen, and you’ll find a refreshing angle to the audio violence. The riffs are crunchy, the basslines are boisterous, the drums are busy, the vocals are barbarous and unsentimental. Adfectus is a pure death metal album, and an enjoyable one at that.
Release Date: 29/04/2022
Record Label: Emanzipation Productions
Standout tracks: Under My Skin, Inner War, The Flame
Suggested Further Listening: Overtoun – This Darkness Feels Alive (2021), Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam (2013), Crypta – Echoes of the Soul (2021)