Santo Rostro - The Healer review

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Band: Santo Rostro
Album: The Healer
Release date: February 2017

01. One Small Victory
02. Cut My Hand
03. Born Again
04. The Healer
05. Hylonome

So I've really enjoyed Santo Rostro's first two efforts. With their third offering, The Healer, they really got their shit together and created an album that batters their prior offerings. It's like the difference between a 10yo and a 12yo scotch. Whatever characteristics that make that 10-year-old Islay Malt good only improve with the added couple years.

At first glance the album looks a little thin compared to their self-titled first release and II: The Bleed, dropping from 8 to 7 and now 5 tracks, they all cover about the same amount of time, somewhere around 38-40 minutes or so.

What they have done is play to their strengths - creating tracks that revolve around crunchy, dirty stoner riffs. But they've refined everything. Maybe more focused? Maybe more creative? Who the fuck knows… it just seems the standards were bumped up a notch. The riffs were great. The mix is great, with the vocals taking a little bit of a back seat - they are powerful and I dig 'em - but not making them the primary focus just makes everything click with that much more oomph.

The album, as mentioned, has five tracks, and a simplistic way of looking at it is this. The odd numbered tracks are the up-tempo, rawking tracks for throwing horns, chugging bottles and throwing bottles. "One Small Victory", "Born Again" are about has much fun as some High On Fire barn-burners.

Meanwhile the even tracks, "Cut My Hand" and the title track are 10 minute+ journeys that see the band exploring their more doom side. "Cut My Hand" is a bit more straightforward, with mid-tempo powerful riffing that drops temp partially through the song to a nice, slow doom head banger while "The Healer" is a tad more on the drone/Om-ier side of things for extended portions before descending to pounding riffs and some harrowing shrieking.

Ultimately, they aren't particularly doing anything they weren't in their prior two albums, only it seems to have been done better and put together better.

So back to that Scotch analogy, much like another two years in the cask make all those smoky, peaty flavors from the 10-year-old and mature those into something superior, the added two have made Santo Rostro smokier, more bog-like and peatier. You now, more of the good stuff.

Metalhead, heal thyself.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Written on 10.02.2017 by BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.

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