This time we’re going south of the border. The rules were simple: our selection could only include bands bellow the U.S.-Mexico line. It’s a pure geographical criterion. So don’t expect to listen to Slayer just because Tom Araya is from Chile and Dave Lombardo is Cuban, the same way bands like Xibalba (from Los Angeles) don’t make it only because they happen to sing in Spanish.
We tell you what to expect. Expect some of the most brutal metal created anywhere in the world. These are not bands that learned about violence because they happened to pick up some tapes and stories from Norwegian Black Metal or because they’re big horror movies buffs. A lot of these people grew up wrapped up in real poverty and hostility. Sure, most of them, especially the earlier guys, are unmistakably influenced by whatever they were listening to at the time, and that meant metal from the States and from Europe. But there’s a crudeness and (as with many other music genres from the Latin countries of the Americas) a political and social awareness lacking in many of their contemporary outfits across the US border and across the Atlantic.
The hardest part was choosing just a dozen bands from such a loaded vein. The Belo Horizonte scene alone – as rich and vital as the Bay Area or Teutonic thrash metal scenes – could justify a whole episode and don’t get us started about what’s going on in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Chile or Argentina. And we didn’t even touch all the hardcore punk stuff.
Anyway, we’ll have to come back. For now, we won’t keep you waiting. Metal, Muerte, Destrucción! TOQUEM BEM ALTO, CARALHO!
Click for show notes and a complete tracklist.
Chile give us nothing but love in the way of beams of metal right in the forehead. Massakre have been around for almost three decades now, pioneering thrash and speed from their homeland in Santiago. “Krematorium” is fruit from a recent crop, but sounds like a classic. Nice, proper, traditional eerie intro, but the thing we appreciate more about this little devil is how it cannot sit still, as these guys are always shape-changing the song, keeping it fresh the whole seven minutes when it could easily become stale, boring or worse (endlessly redundant guitar solos to pad it out come to mind). Nice work from bear-sounding singer Yanko Tolic. Before Massakre, though, we started with some lines from the classical Mexican horror movie “Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas” (aka “Sisters of Satan”).
Black/death metal is all the rage today. Bölzer is the hot new thing; Malthusian had one of the most talked about demos of 2013; Possession’s new EP is one of the year’s best, and we are all eagerly waiting for ZOM to release their first LP. Wrathprayer’s first full length was released just before the newly founded black/death metal craze, which probably explains why they don’t share the same renown as the aforementioned bands. Also, they come from Chile. Sure, it’s 2014 and globalization is actually a thing, but it probably doesn’t hurt when you come from Europe or an English speaking country. Anyway, as you can hear, these guys make some killer music. So enjoy and spread the wealth!
Ah, old Sepultura. This is what black metal sounded like back in the mid-80s and truth be told, this here track still “turns flowers black” Ahah if you are into trivia and fun facts, “Antichrist” is the only Sepultura song penned by Wagner Lamounier of Sarcófago fame.
It’s a Brazilian extravaganza from hell now (only briefly interrupted by tasteful satanic sexual fantasies from a Mexican nun) and a couple of tracks in Portuguese. First “Campo de Extermínio” from thrashers Holocausto. Hailing from the Brazilian capital of metal, Belo Horizonte, and published by the infamous Cogumelo Records (just like Sepultura, Mutilator or Sarcófago), Holocausto never shied away from some good old controversy involving Nazi-sympathy and anti-Semitism. They denied it, of course, but it’s understandable some people didn’t buy on the rebuttal from a singer going under the moniker of “Führer”. And check the album’s cover. “Campo de Extermínio” (Portuguese for “Extermination Camp”) could be considered their “Angel of Death”, maybe?
Onwards to Flageladör and this really catchy heavy/thrash tune, “Cruzada ao Lado de Satã” (you read it correctly, catchy). It works even better if you can sing along after a couple of pints. Fucking GREAT!
Witchtrap’s first EP in particular deserves eternal praise for perfectly encapsulating that old German “evil thrash” sound of Destruction, Sodom and Kreator. Not an easy feat in this day and age. This is not some retro thrash bullshit with washed up sound. Oh no! This is a gem of a release that you should be hearing but you’re not because, oh we don’t know, Wolves in the Throne Room’s latest is *really* good and avant-garde! zzzZZZzzz Uh what? Oh, hey! Pentagram Chile is playing! Good! We were dangerously close of entering a state of deep sleep just thinking about how… cool… is that new Wolves in the Throne Room album.
Pentagram Chile made its name in the tape trading scene back in the mid to late 80s. Nobody in Chile or internationally wanted to sign them for some god forsaken reason. You own it to yourself to at least check out the band’s first two demos. This is the kind of death/thrash that only bands in 86-87-88 like Poison, Morbid and Necrovore were able to come up with.
One extremely hot chili pepper from Mexico, Raped God 666 is kinda the Mexican answer to Exodus. We mean, it’s impossible not to listen to Saul Martinez (aka Goat Destroyer…) singing without Steve Souza popping to mind. Anyway, we really like their 2008 album, “The Executioner”, from which we took the opening track “Devilish Aggressor”, a mind numbing relentless speed/thrash assault. Big highlight here is the incredible drum work (also from Saul, who unfortunately passed away since). But our favorite pick from the album probably is the title track, though, so go listen.
The curtains go down with some vintage rock from Caracas, Venezuela. Released in 1981, “Hecho en Venezuela” from metal pioneers Resistencia is one of the most iconic south-american albums in history, even predating Argentina’s V8 (widely regarded to be the forefathers of that continent’s metal). And you just need to listen to the powerful opening track “Hassan Ben Sabbath” to understand that “Hecho en Venezuela” still lives up to its status, in spite of the sub-par production (and that cover… brrrr!). Have fun picking up the British proto-metal and NWOBHM influences.
- “Alucarda, la hija de las tinieblas” trailer, 1977
- Krematorium| Massakre (CHI) | Crematorium, 2005 https://www.facebook.com/MassakreChile
- The Darkest Fyre | Wrathprayer (CHI) | The Sun of Moloch, 2012 https://www.facebook.com/pages/WRATHPRAYER/184968604887127
- Antichrist | Sepultura (BRA) | Bestial Devastation, 1985 http://sepultura.uol.com.br/
- “Satanico Pandemonium” trailer, 1973
- Campo De Extermínio | Holocausto (BRA) | Campo De Extermínio, 1987 http://www.discogs.com/Holocausto-Campo-De-Exterm%C3%ADnio/master/304033
- Cruzada ao Lado de Satã | Flageladör (BRA) | A Noite do Ceifador, 2006
- Witchtrap | Witchtrap (COL) | Witching Metal, 2000 http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Witchtrap/10821
- Demoniac Possession | Pentagram (CHI) | Demo #1, 1987 http://pentagramchile.com/
- Devilish Aggressor | Raped God 666 (MEX) | The Executioner, 2008 https://www.facebook.com/RapedGod666
- Hassan Ben Sabbath | Resistencia (VEN) | Hecho en Venezuela, 1981 http://www.discogs.com/Resistencia-Hecho-En-Venezuela/release/3296657