Cultura Tres – Rezando Al Miedo (Devouter Records / Cumpa Records, 15 May 2013)
From the very first time I heard Cultura Tres (on this compilation in April 2012), I knew there was something special about these Venezuelan sludge/doomlords. I loved their album El Mal del Bien (which I reviewed a few weeks later, here), and absolutely would have included it among my favorite releases of 2011 if I had just heard it a few months earlier. Actually, I was tempted to stick it on my list of top 2012 albums — since Devouter Records re-released it on CD, but it would have felt like cheating at that point.
In any case, I’ve become a huge fan of this quartet and their dark, bleak worldview. When their third album Rezando al Miedo came out last spring, if anything it sounded even darker and bleaker. What more could you ask for? Naturally, this album DID find its way onto my list of the best of 2013. And now I’d like to tell you some more about it to encourage you to go check out this band yourself.
The title Rezando al Miedo translates to “Praying to Fear” — in other words, as explained in the behind-the-scenes mini-documentary video (see below), people think they’re praying to some sort of spiritual entity (i.e., God), when really they’re just using the act of prayer as a means of escaping or hiding from something they are afraid of, instead of taking some kind of action to confront that fear.
Bearing this in mind, the overall tone of this album seems very despondent and hopeless. Not because there isn’t a way for people to attain salvation from their struggles, but because (the band is implying) people who turn to religion and expect prayer to solve all of their problems are just giving themselves an artificial feeling of hope, while actually just remaining mired in the same sense of fear and dread.
Recorded and produced by vocalist/guitarist Alejandro Londoño (just like both of its predecessors), Rezando al Miedo finds the band descending even further into the darkness that has been developing in their sound thus far. The arrangements seem just a bit starker: each drum hit echoing as if reverberating against the walls of a deep pit; the guitar and bass parts full of flatted fifths and diminished chords, their tone sounding unhealthily fuzzed-out (as I would imagine an instrument would sound if it were plugged into an amp whose speaker cabinet was riddled with bullet holes — although the documentary video addresses the real way this sickly tone was achieved); the vocals nearly abandoning melody altogether in favor of a mostly deadpan delivery. All of these elements work together to instill a vibe of discomfort and unease in the listener.
Here’s the band’s album trailer / behind-the-scenes documentary which gives some insight into the sound of the album, along with its title and cover art:
Here’s a video they released for the song “Es Mi Sangre”:
You can listen to (and download) Rezando al Miedo through Bandcamp (see below), and buy a copy right here.
More Cultura Tres | More Devouter Records
P.S.: is it just my imagination, or does the “Hole in the Head” riff sounds like the intro to “Where Strides the Behemoth” played backwards??
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