Men Eater - Vendaval

Having released an extraordinary debut album called “Hellstone” in 2007, which took a lot of folks into heavy and rock music by surprise with its vital and high-octane stoner-post-rock combination, the Portugal-based four piece known as Men Eater have done it again and are back with a sophomore work called “Vendaval” that proves to be even more potent, dynamic and refined than the first one.
The pungent rage and irreverence of their previous release is still present, though there’s a developed maturity and a new dynamism in their song writing that reveals a deeper focus on verse-chorus-verse structures and confers a sense of immediacy to their songs. Men Eater have fined-tuned their skills to near excellence and their music roars like the engine of a muscular Mustang V8 running at 6000rpm, it’s gritty, high-powered and full of killer riffs, and you can almost feel that energy popping out of the speakers. Just listen to opener “First Season”, a nasty theme brimming with groove and swagger, revolving around gargantuan and fuzz-laced riffs that reminded me of Corrosion of Conformity at their highly corrosive and infectious period, that’s around “Deliverance” for me. Following themes, “Heartbeating Locomotiva” and “Man Hates Space” aren’t as ear-grabbing as the opener but come out with a similar impetus, both laden with a sludgy-southern-rock vibe, largely thanks to the ultra-heavy, contagious and Sabbath-style riffs provided by guitarists Miguel Correia and Carlos Azeitona. Miguel Correia also handles the band’s vocalisations and it’s admirable to see how far he has progressed with his voice, which could be described as a cross between Fu Manchu’s Scott Hill and COC’s Pepper Keenan.
After a two minute doom-flavoured instrumental called “Quatero” surges “Drunk Flies Drugged Souls” my favourite song from the whole album, a driving theme wonderfully balanced between hard and thick guitar riffs and gentler melodies meandering into progressive rock. The Hammond keyboards nicely inserted at the end coupled with some bluesy guitar leads gives the song a very psychedelic and progressive edge that’s extremely invigorating.
The denser and Isis-inspired ambiences that permeated the atmosphere of some songs from their debut like “Lisboa” and “Redsky” are still audible here, but while those influences would surface as isolated exercises of strummed chords and calmer atmospheres in their past effort, nowadays they’re masterfully integrated in small bits throughout most of the songs featured here.
Bottom line, “Vendaval” is a great album that confirms Men Eater as one of the best and most talented acts the Portuguese scene has to offer.

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