As well as being a huge music nerd I am equally a massive fan of cinema, I even went as far as to study media at college, and no not as a doss but rather with genuine interest. The notions I’ve picked up from these studies have helped me gather a great appreciation for cinema as an art form, but why am I talking about this you may ask. Well that is because my love of cinema mainly stems from Horror films, Hellraiser, Braindead, Nekromantik, Saw, the list goes on and on and across all eras and sub-genres. In fact I think it is this bloodlust that went on to muster up a love of Death Metal, I’ve always been intrigued by the macabre and Death Metal is a genre which gives this gore a voice.
So with gore on the brain we come to talk about the Italian Brutal Death Metal trio Fulci, named after famed director and connoisseur of viscera Lucio Fulci known for such classics as A Cat In The Brain and City Of The Living Dead. Perhaps his most well renowned work however would be the cult classic Zombi 2 aka Zombie Flesh Eaters from 1979, a bloody feast for the eyes and purveyor of Italian Horror cinema. Speaking of this classic Fulci’s sophomore release Tropical Sun of which we are looking at today is a concept album based around this acclaimed, underground gem. The follow up to the bands debut Opening The Hell Gates the album, put out through Time To Kill Records promises Brutal Death Metal with an old school Horror flare.
As a rule instrumental introductions, interludes and closures don’t sit well with me, they are often pointless but in the case of Tropical Sun I very much approve. These deliver a sort of Mortician air about the album, bringing us iconic Horror sound bites that immerse us in the concept of this release. As the titular track swings into focus we hear a very traditional Brutal Death Metal sound, slapping bass and dirty guitars swirl through guttural morbid vocals. Yet this release is so much more than plain tradition, there is a good use of Slam influence particularly in the massive track Splatter Fatality, a personal favourite. There is even Melodic Death Metal influence at points, couple these notions together with the ongoing Horror theme and you’ve got a recipe for success.
The album fails to become boring too, Witch Doctor another sampled interlude almost acts as a reset button grabbing our attention and preparing us for the second slaying. Genetic Zombification plays with some decent old school Death Metal themes whilst Eye Full Of Maggots ups the game on the more Brutal Death Metal front ensuring that all fans of the extreme will find something to enjoy in this release. As the album closes with the instrumentals Immortality Virus and March Of The Living Dead one can almost imagine the credits rolling, a most befitting end to this expertly structured Death Metal gem.
Tropical Sun is an eclectic yet exclusive album in the sense that whilst it retains a strong Death Metal ethos it isn’t afraid to dip its toe in more uncharted territory grabbing influence from a range of Death Metal clichés from a massive supply of sub-genres. I found this album to be full of hooks, interesting quips and above all a strong concept. I often find that concept albums can fall by the wayside and not deliver upon their promised theme, yet with Tropical Sun you are transported to the mind of Lucio Fulci and his world of terror. This is a unifying release to please all fans of Death Metal and also Horror nuts alike.
(9/10 George Caley)