A Disco Ball with Horns
After a couple of EPs and a handful of singles over the past few years, DJ duo Mixhell has released its first full-length album, Spaces. This is a duo with an unlikely and interesting history: the project of married couple Laima Leyton and Iggor Cavalera, former drummer and founding member of the well-known Brazilian thrash metal group Sepultura. There’s not much thrash going on here. What we have is more along the lines of hard-hitting rave techno, blending electronic elements with an aggressive rock sound to form a kind of metallic cyber-punk.
On the whole, Spaces has a distinctly modern sci-fi feeling to it; it’s the kind of music you’d expect to hear peppered into the score of a new Matrix movie. Fans of this sound are sure to be pleased with Mixhell, as will many fans of Cavalera’s previous work. A widely renowned drummer in his own time, Cavalera brings a strong rhythmic sensibility to the album. Spaces is definitely a record with a pulse, and it showcases more than just clever sampling.
“Antigalactic” opens the album with a mix of intricate break beats and classic house thumping. A deep acid bassline lays the groundwork for tightly sequenced arpeggios and screeching synth lines, almost sounding like something out of The Chemical Brothers catalog. Most of Spaces follows suit, building up and breaking down tracks with an aggressive and dark edge that bounces between European trance and Nine Inch Nails industrial grind.
Standout tracks on albums like Spaces always come in the form of unexpected gems. Mixhell’s penultimate track on the record, “Daria,” is exactly that kind of gem. It’s the only song that really breaks free from the intimidating metal feeling that a former thrash drummer would naturally bring into his DJ work. “Daria” is just a few steps away from being contemporary Italio-disco, and it really shines. Spaces is a solid record from the married metal duo. The harsh future-rave sound isn’t for everyone, but even so it’s obvious that Cavalera and Leyton know what they’re doing– and they do it well.