Bríi - Último Ancestral Comum (Self-released)

Caio Lemos is one of Bandcamp’s most prolific black metal (BM) darlings. Best known for his solo-project Kaatayra, he has translated traditional black-folk tropes into a new Romance language, casting aside moody European dullards by sprinkling in some Amazonian flavor. Unfortunately, Kaatayra was sunsetted when this blog was merely a twinkle in Geccho, Crisper and Trojan’s bloodshot eyes, but Mutant Breakfast lives on to chart Lemos’ various other experimentations. Here, after dabbling in vibey electronics for his dungeon synth project Bakt, Lemos has brought some of those lessons to his long-standing avant-garde BM project Bríi.

Lemos’ music works best when showcasing the full potential of its emotional scope and stylistic blend. Each of his landmark albums dwells on the tension between ease and intensity through the yin and yang of ‘tribal’ ritualism and extreme metal. To heighten this effect, the trance-infused tunes of Bríi utilize an array of electronics that tug at heartstrings the artist could never reach before. Under this moniker, he turns to the euphoria of psychedelic dance music to alleviate (and enhance) BM’s melancholia, though not at the expense of his battle-tested Brazilian folk tactics. The result is a dualistic medley of lead guitars and spiraling synth-arpeggios, just as likely percussed by blast beats as by amen breaks.

The pitfall of such musical ambition is the struggle to harmonize all the textures at play—an ever-apparent problem in the circuit-bent intersection of experimental metal and modern electronica. Fire-Toolz immediately comes to mind as a comparably passionate act, which adopted crystal-clear production in pursuit of a cohesive sound, but sacrificed BM’s muddy authenticity in the process. Bríi instead headed in the direction of more laid-back and less layered compositions, and though well executed, some might find them one-dimensional. Último Ancestral Comum is in this sense a return to form, reviving the harsh sections from earlier works and exchanging predecessor's pianos for more intricate synth-work. Its nuance, in contrast, lies in the lo-fi production, which lends the album a gritty sense of cohesion and DIY feel. In the end, Último takes shape as a vivid and organic mass of sound, with a hauntingly familiar undertone ringing from the outset—as if echoing the sound of nostalgia itself.

It’s hard to avoid superlatives when discussing albums so immersive. Último Ancestral Comum unfolds as a 40-minute voyage to the extremes of the mind, whose full engagement deserves a set of nice headphones. Weeding out the back catalog’s techno and goa leanings, Lemos shoots tribal tech/house through the obscure kaleidoscope of his kvltural undertones. The resulting four tracks flow with a smoothness that belies how different they are in purpose. "Viajante Universal" makes an endearing case for the symbiosis of infectious house grooves and BM, adorned by synth pads and bell chimes drenched deep in reverb. Its snaring coda builds into the explosion of "Alienígena Interior", whose forceful pace smacks of classic Kaatayra. After ten bewildering minutes of BM delirium—a great burying of house-y bass under tribal electronica and Burzum-style kvlt bells—that track fades out to the distant sirens of a weather warning. "Ecos da Imaginação" offers an introspective reprieve before a lively rhythmic interplay of vintage chord stabs and breakbeats, such that its climax evokes the horrors of a shipwreck rendered in bubbling presets, surging lead chugs, and electrifying guitar-strikes—the sound of wood and steel descending into a watery grave. As the clouds part, the LP ends with the enrapturing post-party rave of "Cada Canto do Universo", toplined by a driving tropical house beat and female vox-bites. A thoughtfully minimalist piece, its stripped-down portions invite contemplation of what could fill its empty spaces.

All in all, Último Ancestral Comum is another significant step in Caio Lemos’ journey, proving that despite his veteran status in the underground, his well of inspiration is nowhere near depleted. Though rearranging familiar flavors, his music transcends all established genre tags, creating something endlessly ecstatic—an emotional rollercoaster of precisely constructed noise.