idade de Deus hosts the most unlikely inhabitants. Despite iconography’s omnipresence, and the silky whisper of Hispanic Hail Marys, the hyper real has infected the ideal; Brazil’s underclass, fresh with the smell of death from her poultry slaughterhouses, writhes through the city slums, the ghettos, the favelas where cardboard houses collapse under the weight of their own misery and genuflect to the towering chrome and glass Christ’s of Sao Paulo. And up from this stench come Labatut, five niños del dios who’ve managed to sprint free of the typhoid and dysentery that has left so many others lifeless before them.
And the debut CD, Yeomanly, unsurprisingly smacks of this borrowed existence. It’s the lack of fundamental amenities that one hears in Labatut’s sonic landslide. No electricity, nor gas, nor running water. Streets of shit that the wheels of commerce will eschew at all cost. This hopelessness is what empowers Labatut’s sound, with its angular, searing spasms of guitar that owe way more to Greg Ginn than Slayer’s Hanneman or King; drumming that pops like intermittent Uzi fire, and crumbles into cymbal decay. The vocals are pathos drenched and anguished, ala Shagrath’s on Fimbulwinter’s legendary ’92 demo, Servants of Sorcery. Unlike the great Fimbulwinter, however, Labatut varies its song structure, choosing to either mix limping thrash with ambient wrath, or to trod straight and tall, as the Ildjarn of Norse did so effectively.
Admittedly, Yeomanly’s potency is half origin, half craft. Leaving the Satanism, and occult to the Scandinavians, Labatut provides a soundtrack to its own existence: One unsure of life’s length, but acutely aware of quality. Which is what makes the “craft” part of the equation so much more alluring. Labatut is not going to overwhelm one’s ears as say Urgehal, or Nazxul assuredly will. But they will impress with their passion; unlike the “evangelical” rats that infest the McChurches of this country, Labatut knows veritas—and it is passio everlasting.
Reviewed by: Stewart Voegtlin
Reviewed on: 2005-04-25