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After having released one of the more promising debuts of recents years Brazilian death metal combo Rebaelliun capitalized on the newfound interest. Arriving merely a year after its debut the “Bringer Of War” EP was a prelude to its second album, and a tribute to one of its most audible inspirations. The EP combined three new tracks with a cover rendition of Morbid Angel song ‘Day Of Suffering’. The EP is by and large an extension of what the band did on its debut, and a bridge to its newer, slightly more melodic material that would come to define their second and final album, the aptly named “Annihilation”.

Caught between two worlds in terms of writing the “Bringer Of War” EP doesn’t sound exactly like “Burn the Promised Land”, but it doesn’t yet have the sense of melody and the overly blast-oriented approach of the band’s second album “Annihilation”. For better or worse, it has Rebaelliun undecided on what sound they want to pursue. The levels of pure visceral intensity and speed have been dialed up, but the dynamic range of the debut remains intact. Overall there’s a more American slant to the writing with this EP while in terms of construction its definitely European sounding. The looming Morbid Angel influence on these compositions is hard to deny, but it has been toned down compared to the debut. With Penna Correa as the sole guitarist for the session, the new tracks are more straightforward and direct, while the leads/solos clearly ape the classic lead sound of American thrashers Slayer. With this EP Rebaelliun wanted to match itself with notorious US blast unit Hate Eternal, and their popular countrymen Krisiun. As noted are the influences of Morbid Angel and early Slayer still present, but they aren’t as obvious as on “Burn the Promised Land” anywhere. The “Bringer Of War” EP is a different beast altogether. A fiercer, focused and more confrontational one at that.

11046880_888238161229966_7785628387951081504_oWhile the intensity and speed level has been dialed up each of the cuts is also leaner in construction. Where the debut occasionally still had riffs that fulfilled no other function than to introduce the next, here each and every part of a song is there for a reason. Not that any of these songs are particularly complex as far as architecture or writing are concerned. In the quest for intensity Rebaelliun has sacrificed some of the Morbid Angel leanings that made “Burn the Promised Land” so appealing. The writing here follows Krisiun’s “Apocalyptic Revelation” and “Conquerors Of Armageddon” more than anything else. The leads and solos still are the highpoint of these tracks, along with the incessant battering of drummer Sandro Moreira. As was the case with the debut the barked vocals of Marcello Marzari (in what would be his final recording with the band) are still as commonplace and interchangeable as they were before, but at least his bass playing got slightly more interesting. Rebaelliun still was an obvious Krisiun clone, but the outlines of a more individual take on the genre starts to slowly surface here.

One of the obvious changes comes with the production. Whereas the debut sounded like a glorified demo recording, “Bringer Of War” adds tremendous levels of clarity and definition to an already crunchy whole, but sacrifices organic warmth for digital gloss. There’s a very “live” feel to this EP in terms of recording, but each and every instrument sounds cleaner, heavier and more precise here. Even Marcello Marzari’s belching, throaty vocals sound more honest and raw this time around. The drums sound a lot less like cardboard and empy buckets, probably due to superior recording techniques and triggering. The bass guitar is turned up a notch, but its tone still isn’t very clear or refined sounding. The guitar tone is louder, cleaner and more concrete all around.

The artwork carries on with the band’s previously established antireligious war concept. Its successor “Annihilation” would depart from that thematic in terms of lay-out, but continues the direction taken with this EP. “Bringer Of War” is hardly a game changer, but it sees Rebaelliun taking the necessary steps to justify its continued existence. What the band truly would be capable of would be displayed on its second album “Annihilation”. It’s unfortunate that Rebaelliun ceased to exist after that, but perhaps for the better in the long run – as they wouldn’t be able to keep dialing up the intensity the way they did on the few releases they put out in their short lifetime.

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In the late 1990s a new charge of South American underground bands stormed the world due to the increasing popularity of Brazilian export Krisiun, comprised of the three Kolesne brothers. Every label you could imagine was seeking out their personal Brazilian death metal band, and as such every band that could write a decent song and play really fast was offered a contract. Within the year there were albums released globally by Abhorrence, Mental Horror, Nephasth, Ophiolatry and a couple of others,

Notable among these young hordes were Rebaelliun. Not because of their music, especially, as they were cut from a rather typical cloth of Slayer-meets-Morbid-Angel – but because of their do-or-die attitude. The fact that they had sold all their possessions (furniture, clothing, etc) in Brazil and moved to Belgium of all places to get a start in their productive but ultimately short-lived metal career, custodian only to a locally produced promo tape, speaks volumes of these men’s dedication. In one week they had secured their first gig, and based upon that very first gig (at the legendary Frontline club in Ghent) they were able to land a record deal with Holland’s Hammerheart Records.

11704863_875570659158593_2958795480706328621_nThe popular consensus at the time was that Rebaelliun was just another Krisiun clone, and to an extent that is true. The difference with Krisiun is that Rebaelliun relies heavier on the influence of early Slayer, and their Morbid Angel leanings are only secondary to that foundational aspect. The point is also that Rebaelliun, even this early in their career, knew to how to arrange a song. Certainly, they play at blistering speeds most of the time but the dynamics are actually very clever for a genre as limited as death metal. The leads/solos of Ronaldo Lima were another high mark and selling point for this band. Of the two guitarists, Lima is more technically proficient and melodically gifted compared to the more straightforward approach of Fabiano Penna Correa. The band took the template of early Krisiun and worked their individual strengths around that basic framework. The result is an album that is savagely brutal, dynamic in composition but with an old school charm and warmth that was lost on Krisiun from “Ageless Venomous” onwards.

While Sandro Moreira’s drumming is intensely hammering and mostly unrelenting, the way he incorporates fills, rolls and cymbal crashes is a lot more creative and engaging than anything Moyses Kolesne from Krisiun ever did at that point or later on. In a lot of ways you could see it as thrash metal drumming sped up to the standards of the then-emerging blast death movement. On lead and rhythm guitar is the pair of Ronaldo Lima and Penna Correa, both whose primary source of inspiration lies with Slayer and Morbid Angel. The opening riff to ‘Spawning the Rebellion’ is vintage Slayer worship and the track ‘Hell’s Decree’ channels “Covenant” more than once, to say the least. The leads and solos are mostly of the Hoffman era Deicide variety. Marcello Marzari’s vocals are more barked than grunted, and while his bass playing provides the band with the most of its heaviness, it isn’t exactly special or captivating.  The bass playing is just typical doubling of the guitars and not much else otherwise.

11754495_876032055783910_8060379560008370254_oAnother thing that Rebaelliun understood, and what Krisiun didn’t seem to grasp, is that playing a bit slower, or mixing up faster and slower sections, adds to the depth of the song. Where Krisiun has a very single-minded approach to how they construct and perform their death metal, Rebaelliun had no problems with letting some early thrash architecture slip into their formula. This, of course, is much more beneficial to the band in the long run. Occasionally there are guitar lead trade-offs, but these are hardly as prominent as those in Diabolic’s original three-album run in the early 2000s. The lyrics are far from compelling as they deal with the usual subjects of war, extermination and religious defamation. Not surprising when you consider this band hails from Brazil, who like Poland, are amongst the most religious conservative Catholic countries in the world.

The album consists almost entirely of new and original material written specifically for this session. Outside of opening track ‘At War’ and mid album crusher ‘Spawning the Rebellion’ no demo tracks were refurbished. This is fairly logical considering that their “Promo Tape ‘98” consisted of only those two earlier mentioned tracks. Interesting is also the instrumental track ‘Flagellation of Christ (the Revenge of King Beelzebuth)’ which consists of spooky church organs, chiming funeral bells, sparse percussion and esoteric minimal guitar playing. The limited digipack of this album also contained the “At War” mini-CD, which was a single-CD limited repress of the band’s “Promo Tape ‘98”.

There are no weak moments to speak of on this record, although towards the end the riffing tends to get a bit samey. ‘Killing For the Domain’, ‘Spawning the Rebellion’, ‘Hell’s Decree’ and ‘The Legacy Of Eternal Wrath’ are the strongest tracks of this session. The production work is of the old school variety, meaning that not everything is balanced and equalized to glossy perfection. Moreira’s drums suffer the most from the limited production, having the snares sound like buckets, with indistinct sounding kickdrums that despite their lack of clarity add much to organic feeling of the record. Marzari’s bass guitar is mixed deeply under the meaty guitars and doesn’t get much space in the production other than providing the deeply rumbling undercurrent and thickness.

Like the erupting volcano that made up the album art for this record, Rebaelliun exploded unto the scene with finesse and conviction. In the wake of this record the band would tour Europe extensively, before recording another EP and finally a second album. After the touring campaign for their second album “Annihilation” Rebaelliun would fall apart due to a number of reasons. Years down the line Penna Correa would resurface with the more thrash-oriented The Ordher, Sandro Moreira would enroll in Mental Horror and Marcello Marzari would rejoin Abhorrence on a permanent basis. Little is known of what became of prodigious guitar player Ronaldo Lima, but the rumors persist that he stopped playing altogether after the Rebaelliun adventure ended as the band members returned to Brazil and all went their separate ways at various points.