In September 2021, AHINCO‘s third album was released, entitled Quem deus vult perdere, prius dementat (Latin for «whom God wants to kill, he first drives him crazy»). Both the title and the conceptual thread that unites all the songs on this album are Greek tragedies that were preceded by twisted betrayals and even divine traps, all condensed into brutal explosions of death metal with polyrhythms, particular scales, and different musical nuances that enhance the album and expose the great level of the virtuosity of the trio that emerged in 2011 in Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, which today is made up of Ariel Sanchez on drums, Lucho Alippi on bass, vocals, acoustic guitar, keys and synthesizers, and Hernán Chave on both electric and acoustic guitar.
The meaning of ahinco (zeal), at least for these parts of the hemisphere, refers to the determination, perseverance, or obstinacy to carry out a task, and they are a very good definition of both the band and the album, which began to materialize on the eve from the launch of its predecessor, and it denotes a natural evolution in the path of the band, and that takes inspiration from the previous albums: La canción de los sepulcros (The song of the sepulchers) 2020, inspired by the concept of the eternal return and Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy, being as experimental as it can be in musical terms; and prior to this, El cadaver de Sueños (The corpse of dreams) 2018, which instead knew how to bet on less intricate and more visceral death metal with more «centered» lyrics if you will.
“No hay pacto entre hombres y leones” (There is no pact between lions and men) was the single prior to the full release, and it is also the opening of the album, which initiates with a powerful blast beat distilling its history with the rhythm of traditional death metal until the end the vocal segment when they start to play with the beat changes in a chaotically beautiful segment. The lyrics are told in the soul of a Trojan hero who might be as deception of the gods, his own decision, or a disastrous fate, is forced to face certain death, practically a suicide. This presents us with a dilemma: is Hector a tragic hero or an absurd hero? The song ends with the lament of said protagonist prior to his demise: «Without redemption of the sacred fire / the sun and its light have abandoned me.»
It is very difficult not to emphasize some themes in particular, as the level exhibited throughout the album is very even, and the band decided not to waste virtuosity, not even on the instrumental themes, such as “Amanecer en el Cáucaso” (Dawn at the Caucasus), which is a game between two acoustic guitars, until the beginning of a lamenting sound, product of a string arrangement played by Zoe Larrondo (guest musician) and Lucho Alippi himself, and which seeks nothing more than to generate an atmosphere of suspense to continue with the songs that catch with their particular traces, in each case.
One of them is “Irremediablemente iguales” (Irremediably equals), which surprises with the “involution” of the aggressiveness that it initially starts, and after changing to a certain Argentinian folkloric rhythm in the middle segment, while Lucho Alippi exclaims: “I think one should become a person, but the winds do not stop blowing / This is something that the rain will not be able to wash away”, the tempo of the song begins to fall and fall more and more. There is a dichotomous game of bass and viola that wields melodies, and that ends in a plucking very faithful to the great Chuck Schuldiner, to later lower the tempo even more, while Lucho closes almost disgusted «There is no escape, but it makes no difference to me”.
The palette of styles that influence this progressive death metal is very interesting, as it continues with jazzy airs (especially at the beginning) in “El ciego que desea ver en la penumbra” (The blind one who wants to see in the gloom), which later explodes with more groovy airs, with the power of the lament of an egomaniac who sees his world collapse, or in “Sangre, roca y barro” (Blood, rock and mud), which has more gloomy tones, like that plucking with which it begins, but which later also comes out to attack with frantic polyrhythms.
However, there is no doubt that the zenith comes towards the end, with “Luciérnagas en descomposición” (Fireflies in decomposition), which is where they take out all their tricks, with a gloomy and extensive intro that cements an ethereal and melancholic atmosphere, that would soon be reflected in the lyrics, but without any warning, the death metal power kicks in, to exclaim these gritty lines: “It is supposed that I was created and molded» in the image of «/ manufactured to be like that. / Yet wherever I look, I can only see myself».
We also find the first guitar solo as such, until an abrupt cut where a click is made again, to change the key of the song, and those DEATH riffs that I love so much return, where he exclaims with weariness and leaves us with the dilemma that he sought to interfere with us: «Are not the stars, decaying fireflies?» at the same time that the song fades along with the album.
I think that one of the best achievements of this trio from Mar del Plata is to have accomplished their own imprint, which generates that feeling of «not sounding common» but still having multiple artist’s influences; such as FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE in its most visceral parts, or PERIPHERY when they take out their gadgets and start playing. In addition, it is important to highlight the virtue of generating structures of one style and then moving on to another, without losing the musical and lyrical coherence, and that its extensive songs do not feel boring at all. If you want to explore more material from this band, do not hesitate to visit their social media.