Banda de la Muerte – Pulso de una Mente Maldita (29 March 2012, Zonda Records)
So remember about two weeks ago, when I published a review of the most recent Cultura Tres album? At that time I talked about rectifying my previous oversight of South American bands, and hinted that there were two in particular I had my eye (or, ears) on. Well this is the second one: Argentina’s Banda de la Muerte.
My original plan was to write up both of these reviews and post them on the same day, but then I came to the realization that there would be so much similarity between the two, that you might get some weird sense of déjà vu — hence the delay in finishing and publishing this one. Now, I’m not trying to say that the two bands are the same or that their music is very similar; that wasn’t the problem. However, the way I first got introduced to these guys was virtually identical.
Like Cultura Tres, the name Banda de la Muerte first came to my attention as part of a European tour with Undersmile. And also, just like their neighbors to the north, these Argentinians had a song included in the recent Grip of Delusion Radio compilation The Book of Riff-elations. Once again, the band name jumped out at me when I recognized it in the track listing, and I found that I especially enjoyed their contribution, “Parte de Mi Historia” (Part of My Story).
The parallels don’t end there, either, because these guys also have had two releases, with the first one (2009′s Banda de la Muerte) being offered for a free download through Bandcamp (details included at the end of this post). Their newer album, Pulso de una Mente Maldita has been out since March (via Argentina’s Zonda Records, who also handled the earlier self-titled work), but it was recently announced that (just like Cultura Tres’ El Mal del Bien) it’s now available worldwide on vinyl (details on that included later as well).
So as you can see, there are quite a few similarities between the two bands’ stories, and in particular, my own road to discovering them. But enough of that — now I’d like to talk about what makes Banda de la Muerte unique.
Cultura Tres – El Mal Del Bien (self-released, 29 March 2011)
So yesterday morning, as I was putting together the post about the newly released track by Vesperia, it occurred to me that I’ve done an awful lot of writing about bands from our upstairs neighbors over the past couple months. At the same time, it occurred to me that I’ve been unfairly neglecting music that originates from south of the border — and a quick peek at my (more-or-less-almost-up-to-date) World Map of Bands verifies this is true.
Well, actually, I haven’t entirely neglected bands from south of here — about a month and a half ago, I posted about the Grip of Delusion Radio compilation (which you can still download for free, if you haven’t yet!), and in that post I briefly mentioned a couple of South American bands that had songs included. One of those was Cultura Tres from Maracay, Venezuela.
These guys had first come across my radar just prior to the release of that Book of Riff-Elations compilation, when I read about them playing some shows over in Europe with our British friends Undersmile. So the band name (which literally means “Culture Three” but idiomatically refers to life in the so-called ‘Third World’) jumped out at me when I saw it in the tracklisting. Naturally, I had to give their song “No es mi Verdad” (“It is Not My Truth”) a quick listen, and it was so deliciously sludgey and doomy that I just had to grab both of the band’s full-length releases, 2008′s La Cura (“The Cure”), and last year’s El Mal del Bien (literally, “Bad from Good” or “Wrong from Right”). Both of these are available to download (for free or whatever price you choose), but the newer one was also recently released on vinyl, so I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about that now, Dear Reader.
Tribune – Elder Lore / The Dark Arts (Corpse Corrosion Music, 20 March 2012)
I know I keep going on about that map of band locations that I put together last week, but I think it’s really fun to play with. Maybe I’m the only one that really cares; maybe I’m just a major dork. Whatever. But check it out: you can do cool stuff like zoom in on Burnaby, Canada — right next to Vancouver, near the Pacific coast and just above the border with Washington state in the northwestern United States. Then you can change to a satellite view or even a topographic map, if you want to. Here you can see that the city, which is home to the band Tribune*, is surrounded by a few lakes, and most of the land seems to be pretty close to sea level anyway. From that I would surmise that there just might be a good bit of swamps or marshlands near that area.
Of course, I could have made the same assumption just by listening to their recently-released double-EP Elder Lore / The Dark Arts. The blend of riffs and vocals they incorporate into their particular version of death metal might give you the impression that they come from the same backwater bayou country as Down or Crowbar, rather than the frozen tundra of British Columbia. But, hometown notwithstanding, these guys have put together a combination of styles that I’ve decided to call stoner/death metal. You just need to check it out to see what I mean.
——————————— * By the way — I don’t know if it’s a Canadian thing or what, but I’ve learned that the band’s name is pronounced differently than I originally thought. It’s actually “TRY-bune” (as in “tribunal”), not “TRIB-une” (like ”tribute”).
Fist Fight in the Parking Lot – Fist Fight in the Parking Lot (21 February 2012, Innervenus Music)
Good evening, readers! Sorry for the tardiness of this review — I totally meant to publish it this morning, but then I got distracted by something shiny. It happens. Actually it was an announcement that the new self-titled album by Corrosion of Conformity was streaming in full over at AOL Music. I hadn’t heard it yet, and I don’t know how long it’ll be available, so I wanted to jump on that. I’m sure you can understand. If you haven’t heard it yet, you’ll probably want to check it out, too.
From what I’d read about it, the new COC album is supposed to appeal to fans of their earlier, more hardcore-oriented work, as well as those who prefer their more recent foray into Sabbath-inspired stoner metal. So I was curious to see what it was all about. What I found surprised me: I heard very little of the sound mainly associated with either era of the band’s history, instead feeling more of an old-school doom vibe — along the lines of some of Wino‘s earlier work, or any of a slew of his bands’ imitators. A style I enjoy, to be sure, but one that can also seem monotonous at times, over the course of an entire record. This was one of those occasions: despite some higher points, the album really didn’t reach out and grab my attention at any point. Missing here were the truly memorable songs that make you want to sing along, or hear them again and again.
Well, all of that soon changed, because a little later in the day I switched gears to the brand new release by Pittsburgh’s Fist Fight in the Parking Lot, made available today through the Innervenus Music Collective.