Signed to eclectic dance label Boysnoize Records, Brazilian trio Mixhell are set to combine all things good and holy from the worlds of rock and electronica with their debut album ‘Spaces’. Taking the percussive talents of ex-Sepultura drummer Iggor Cavalera along with wife Laima Leyton, and more recent addition Max Blum, to produce a hellish blend of maple and MPC. So does this South American collaboration pack enough punch?
Once passed the industrialized intro, ‘Antigalactic’ goes head first into a pulsating air strike of a beat, melding squeaky synth lines and gliding melodies to form a welcome starter. ‘Exit Wound’ again sees Iggor’s pounding rhythms take centre stage, with Greg Puciato of Dillinger Escape Plan providing gravely vocals and signature Sepultura screams.
Taking a while to get started, ‘Mind Drop’ doesn’t seem to capture the energy previously on display. With scratchy guitars and the odd vocal sample, you’ll have to wait until you’re about waist high for the drop, which eventually makes for a chirpy disco number. In the same vein ‘The Edge’ sees more disco rhythms, this time Leyton providing deadpan vocals and distorted, Soulwax like bass line from Blum. Single release ‘The Way’ combines hypnotic, Donna Summer style vocals, racy bass lines and Iggor’s diesel fuelled drumming to produce one of the stronger tracks on the album.
Once over the halfway line, and feeling a lot like an intermission, ‘Internal’ glides its way through. Marrying simple melodies and spacey samples, it’s Iggor’s percussive presence at the latter stages that inject life back into the track. ‘Once Again’ has a Murphyesque feel to it, with cyclic piano motif and trebly bass riffs, it’s catchy enough to make the top five. ‘White Ropes’ finally allows Iggor to let rip, showcasing an intro straight out of Chaos AD, the track delves into glitched-up, resonant territory, making it one of the highlights of the album.
Heavy keys and plucky guitar make up ‘Daria’, an ever-evolving lively disco treat. Combining catchy melodies and sweeping pads to create a well layered track in the closing stages of the album. Rounding off, ‘Come with Me’ sees side-chained, processed vocals and a more sample-based kit to provide a melancholy finale.
Mixhell may not be reinventing useful round objects here, but by capturing Iggor’s strengths they’ve managed to put a darker spin on disco. As a taster for their live show ‘Spaces’ provides plenty to whet the appetite, and although there’s a feeling of holding back, their definitely ones to keep an eye on.
HBF Rating 4 out 5.
Written by James Trigo.