Criminal – Live On Your Knees

On September 17th, Criminal will release their new album, Sacrificio, via Metal Blade Records. For a preview of Sacrificio, a lyric video for the new single “Live on Your Knees” can be viewed here. Anton Reisenegger (vocals/guitars) comments: “‘Live on your Knees’ is the opening track and also the first track Danilo and I wrote for the album. It’s probably one of the fastest and most brutal songs on the record. Its late 90s death metal and hardcore vibes punch you straight in the face and don’t let go. The lyrics are a message of freedom and independence in these times of turmoil and uncertainty. Ben Liepelt did a killer job with the lyric video, and we can’t wait for everyone to see/hear/feel it!”

Sacrificio is Criminal’s ninth full-length studio album: a twelve-track bludgeoning that harks back to their roots – both literally and metaphorically. Whilst writing for Sacrificio, Criminal’s home country of Chile saw a social uprising that has impacted the lives of Chileans in immeasurable ways. Protests against corruption, inequality and the poor standard of living saw citizens take to the streets to make themselves heard. This civil action and vehement anger seeped into the creative process of the four members of Criminal – three of them being Chilean. Although there is a deep personal connection to the lyrical content, the events unfold from the perspective of a spectator – albeit one who has also experienced tyrannical leadership and witnessed the divide between ordinary citizens and the social elite.

Chilean culture weaves its way into the album in other ways too; though suitably heavy, there’s a percussive element to the sound of Sacrificio that reveals its Latin American roots. Coupled with an unapologetic nod to the 90s in terms of both composition and production, this album sees Criminal finding their groove in more ways than one. The resulting sound is celebratory, rhythmic, organic, and captures everything that was glorious about the flourishing extreme metal scene in the 1990s.

For a band that originally formed out of the ashes of 80’s death metal legends Pentagram Chile, the album highlights the benefits of embracing the band’s origins; writing and recording took place in Chile for the first time since the 1990s. Criminal continues to prove that South America can create powerful death metal on its own terms. For Sacrificio, much of the material was written in the old-fashioned way – jamming in a sweaty rehearsal room, refining as they went. The old school vibe is further enhanced by the natural sounding production of Seba Puente, which adds to the immediacy and live feel found throughout Sacrificio.

The past 30 years have seen twists and turns in the Criminal tale, but Sacrificio finds them sounding more compelling than ever. The sole original member, vocalist/guitarist Anton Reisenegger (Brujeria, Lock Up, Pentagram Chile), allows plenty of room for the newer and younger members of the band – Danilo Estrella (drums), Danny Biggin (bass), Sergio Klein (guitar) – to add their personal touches to the band’s missives.

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