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.
I’M GETTING TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT.
Anyone that read my reviews yesterday will be able to deduce what I’m talking about. My head is killing me, my entire body is aching, and overall I pretty much feel like a zombie. Accordingly, I feel like listening to something very pleasant this morning. Here’s what I came up with: an album (another one that ranked on my best-of-2013-list!) with a central theme (at least, as far as my tired mind can ascertain) about how you’re going to die someday and there’s nothing you can do about it. Furthermore, a recurring concept is that of being a born loser, unlucky at everything, and not being able to do anything about that either because it’s all pretty much dictated by fate. Just warms the heart right up, doesn’t it? Here’s Fate is Your Muse, the fourth full-length by midwestern heavy psych/blues/stoner/sludge metal band Devil to Pay, which came out just over a year ago, about a decade or so into that band’s career.
Hey folks — a very Happy (Belated) New Year to all of you! 2013 definitely turned out to be an interesting year for me, with lots of big changes, new projects, new responsibilities, etc., but an unfortunate side-effect of some of that was (as you’ve surely noticed) that the amount of time I’d been spending writing really tapered off as the year went on, to the point where I didn’t post
anything here for the last few months! Well, as you may have seen, I’ve started writing reviews of some new 2014 releases — and as time allows I promise I will also be sharing plenty of older stuff I’ve missed writing about, because believe me there has been a TON worth sharing!
But more on that later. As I started doing last year, I’ve once again put together a collection of various people’s “best of” lists from 2013. Admittedly I sort of got a late start on this (I didn’t even put out the open invitation until after most websites had already finished with publishing all their year-end stuff), but several people have answered the call and contributed some really interesting lists that you’ll want to check out…
All I can say is, Hell Yeah! Devouter Records is putting out another winner of an album…
Venezuelan sludge-doom lords Cultura Tres‘ album El Mal del Bien was self-released back in 2011, and around the beginning of 2012 it became available worldwide on vinyl. It has also been available for digital download, but never has been released on CD — until now!
I discovered this album earlier this year (and wrote about it back in May), and Cultura Tres very quickly became one of my favorite South American exports. So I’m pretty excited about this, and I’ll be ordering a CD for myself very soon — see below for information on how you can get one too!
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.
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 probably been unfairly neglecting music that originates from south of the border…
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.
Check this out! The nice people at Grip of Delusion Radio have put together a gigantic compilation in three volumes (over one hundred songs altogether!) and they’re yours for the taking, absolutely free of charge. There are some pretty awesome bands represented here, including a couple I’ve written about in the past (Vulture and Undersmile) and one that I’ll be reviewing very soon (Fire in the Cave), plus Banda de la Muerte, Heavy Lord, Forged in Flame, Wo Fat, Cultura Tres, Thorr Axe, Behold! The Monolith, Shroud of Despondency, and tons more!!
These were just released on Sunday (01 April) and by Monday they had already run out of free Bandcamp downloads! But mere minutes ago, it was announced that due to the generosity of The Soda Shop, they’ve just added on another thousand downloads… so hurry up and grab one while you still can!
See the Bandcamp widgets below for each of the three volumes, where you can download them if you like (or just listen to the songs and then download your favorites)…
If the Bandcamp well runs dry again, don’t fear, they have alternate download capabilities on this page — including a link to Mediafire (where you can grab the songs one at a time) and Dropbox (which offers all three volumes in a single Gig-and-a-half bundle).