19 November 2016

Brujeria - Pocho Aztlan

Brujeria are a band who caused quite a stir when they first launched an assault on the metal scene. It was said that the members of the band were a group of Mexican drug-lords who were on the run from the F.B.I due to their involvement in the narcotics trade. It was all a load of bollocks, of course, but it certainly got people wound up! It soon transpired that it was actually a side project featuring (then-)members of bands such as Faith No More, Napalm Death and Fear Factory who'd got together in order to record some particularly brutal Death Metal. The lyrics and vocals were all in Spanish but from what we can gather via Google Translator, they were mostly anti-American as well as about drugs and Satanism. The concept of the band is said to have came from one of the members reading a story about a drugs gang in Mexico who'd kidnap tourists and sacrifice them to Satan in the hopes it would get shipments through without trouble. Indeed, the cover of the first album had a decapitated head on there (which the band have called 'Coco Loco'). All in all, it was pretty nasty stuff but there was some heavy music in there. After a long hiatus, during which there were some live shows, Brujeria are back. Can they still cut it (no pun intended)?

NB: Any song-title translations mentioned in this blog come from Wikipedia (and they may have possibly got them from Google Translator), so I apologise if they're wrong.

1) Pocho Aztlan - A narration of what sounds like a rites, or something over an ethereal keyboard. Drum effects in the background. Then the song kicks into some stomping Death Metal with just a hint of Groove. The guitars remind me of Napalm Death when they do that 'discordant' thing - and that's no surprise as Shane Embury is playing guitar on this. He goes by the name of Hongo when in Brujeria.

2) No Aceptan Imitaciones (Accept No Imitations) - Upping the Death Metal with some furious tempos, it's worth nothing that the drums are provided by that master of the drumkit - Hongo Jr, who also goes by the name Nicholas Barker (Ex-Cradle Of Filth). This song makes me smile.

3) Profecia Del Anticristo (Antichrist's Pophecy) - More deathly Death Metal with a bit of a stomp to it. So far, we've got a good vibe going here. Bit of a widdly moment before the onslaught resumes, it's like it wants to take a breath before the beatings resume. Extremely savage and lovely.

4) Angel de la Frontera (Angel of the Border) - I guess this is about attempting to get into the U.S illegally. It wouldn't be the first song they've done about that, although once President Trump gets that wall up,it might be a lot harder. Anyhow, this song is another great slice of Death Metal with a choral breakdown and what sounds like screaming in the background. One thing I've noticed about these songs is they're slightly catchy, which is unusual in Death Metal!

5) Plata O Plomo - We all know this one means 'silver or lead', or in this context, 'money or bullets', which was the offer generally given to you by Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Either you take our bribes or we shoot you. Opening with a news report, it then gives way into a quite frankly brutal thumping slab of Death Groove Metal. Soulfly did a song with the same name a few years ago - this one takes that song, sticks a tyre over it's neck, douses it in petrol and sets it on fire. Just like a true narco! More Groove Metal than Death, it's still an awesome piece of Metal! Bass playing is superb on this.

6) Satongo - A bit of a grinding number, this one is like a volley of gunshots to the chest from a fully automatic weapon. Then it grooves it's way towards the end. Not a bad song. Seems like we have a winner of an album thus far...this song mentions the chupacabra, the Mexican vampire creature.

7) Isla De La Fantasia (Fantasy Island) - Boss, ZE PLANE, ZE PLANE!!! Yet another great slab of Death Groove, but there is a bit in the middle which I cannot tell if it's actually a sample of Ricardo Montleban or someone merely quoting him. Probably the latter. Still, when a song is this good, who cares? The outro has sounds like a gunfight.

8) Bruja (Witch) - Creepy intro before we head off to a slow song. Well, it does good to ease up on the accelerator for a bit. It's not too bad, but I feel the band are best when they're rocking the fuck out and obliterating everything in front of them.

9) Mexico Campeon (Mexico Champion) - This is fucking awesome!!! Straight up grind, hardcore with a chorus that goes MEXICO, MEXICO, RAH RAH RAH!!! It's both funny, exhilarating and awesome at the same time! Reminds me of Ratos De Porao in places. This was a great song and no mistake.

10) Culpan La Mujer (They Blame The Women) - Grinding it's way into your consciousness, it gives you a savage attack with dual vocals, one low and guttural, the other high and anguished, it drags the song out in perpetual agony and leaves it for the vultures.

11) Codigos (Codes) - Keyboard and guitar feedback with spoken word intro...atmospheric enough, this goes on for a bit before turning into a Death Stomper of a song. Keyboard effects midway through which add atmosphere. It meanders a bit towards the end, but other than that, it's a decent song.

12) Debilador (Weakness) - One of the faster Death/Grind ones to round off the album with. A savage attack, like pretty much the whole album. It has to be said that whilst this album may not have the same dirty, nasty vibe of the first two (Matando Gueros and Raza Odiada), it's still very powerful. The production is top notch and just perfect for this sort of thing.

13) California Uber Aztlan - A cover of California Uber Alles (originally by Dead Kennedys), this is a bit throwaway, if we're honest. Don't get me wrong, it's a great song - but it already was. I'd have preferred to have had original material. Or even another comedy cover like when they covered Macarena - and called it Maijuana...

They also did a song called Viva Presidente Trump! This came out six months ago and is fucking funny and awesome as fuck!

As you can tell, I enjoyed this album immensely. It's not going to be for everyones taste but if you like Death Metal then you can't go wrong with this. Perfect to keep the cold winter nights away, one listen to this and you too can improve your Spanish in no time at all. Or sound like a character from a Robert Rodriguez movie, whichever comes first. It's also better than Brujerizimo too...

10/10 - This is proof there is a God.

Chris J.

Top Track: Mexico Campeon.

This album is available on iTunes.

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(WARNING: Contains speech by Donald Trump)

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