There is something aggressive brewing in the air in South America. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but a lot of kids down there have been inspired to bust out the denim patch vests, learn their instruments proficiently, and play some glorious thrash metal. Is it partially influenced by social and political conditions in their respective countries? Perhaps, but I’m willing to bet it’s more a matter of growing up immersed in classic music. Great metal never goes out of style (outside of the U.S., at least), and the underground metal scene is reaping the rewards of these young thrashers’ dedication.
No one needs to remind Dangerous of that fact. Much like Argentinians Cavador, who I reviewed on this site a few weeks ago, Dangerous from Chile are very much veterans of the local thrash circuit. Formed in 2006 by guitarist Carlos Manqui and drummer Daniel Gonzalez, the band has withstood several lineup changes and a brief breakup in 2011. In 2009, they released their first demo, Genocide Solution, to positive attention and acclaim. Fast forward to 2012, when Manqui and Gonzalez reformed Dangerous and started writing new material. Now featuring the solidified lineup of Manqui, Gonzalez, bassist Jonathan Reign, and vocalist/guitarist Raul Careño, Dangerous released their independently-produced debut album, Metal Heritage, in November of last year.
Fans of the Big Four of American thrash will not be disappointed by Metal Heritage. Indeed, Dangerous cite Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Exodus as early influences, and they wear these names proudly on their proverbial sleeves. In addition to these bands, one can hear a touch of early Slayer in some of Dangerous’ ultra-speedy riffs that punish the listener into supplication. While this album may not be all that “dangerous” in terms of presenting many original ideas, Metal Heritage still has a lot going for it. First off, the production on this album is top-notch, especially considering the band produced it themselves. The guitar tone is crisp and crunchy, all the instruments sounding balanced and crystal clear. Also, the quality of the playing belies Dangerous’ unsigned status. Guitarists Manqui and Careño deliver intricate rhythms in a lock-tight manner, while Reign’s bass playing is dynamic and fleet-fingered at times. Vocally, Careño’s mid-range singing sounds cleaner and more palatable than many other thrash bands.
Most importantly, Dangerous’ riffs are as catchy as they are aggressive, and that, my friends, is always a winning locker combination (say what?). Dangerous generally eschew complexity in favor of concise arrangements and relatively-short song lengths. This helps the listener avoid ear fatigue; it’s also a refreshing contrast from recent releases by bands such as Iron Maiden and Dream Theater, who insist on lulling their fans into a stupor with tedious Ben Hur and Lawrence of Arabia-length albums. Anyway, Dangerous are at their best when they’re alternating between galloping, triplet-oriented rhythms and full-on bursts of speed. Many tracks, such as “Dangers Return,” “Executors of Mankind,” and “Murderous Tradition” utilize this strategy to great effect. Guitar solos and melodies are used sparingly; Dangerous let the riffs do most of the talking, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I would recommend the band utilize more catchy vocal hooks within their arrangements to help differentiate the tracks. Also, including more guitar harmonies and melodies within the riffs may make these songs more dynamic and engaging.
Overall, Metal Heritage is highly worthy, neck-wrecking thrash. Let’s keep ‘em coming, South America.
--Review by Jonathan Kollnot