Grita! Records, 1999
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/04/1999
A confession: I do not speak a word of Spanish. (No, wait, that's not completely true; I know a couple of words, including one or two vulgarities some buddies of mine taught me in high school.) Having been convinced by my high school guidance counselor that Latin was the way to go (and, boy, has that come in handy the last 10 years), I skipped out on a real chance to become bilingual.
So I might not be the most qualified person to review Metalo, a compilation of Latin metal bands that was recently released. But what I lack in comprehension I can make up for in appreciation of the music - and this collection is pretty good.
The quality occasionally shifts from superb to midrange; one inclusion, "Pirates" from Armored Saint (featuring the late Dave Pritchard), sounds like it was an unproduced demo. (I could be right; this is the first time this song has ever been released.) But for the most part, it is the playing and the delivery of the vocals that make this disc one to savor.
Chances are Metalo will be an introduction to many of these bands. Two of these bands - Puya and Pissing Razors - have been reviewed here previously. A third band, Ratos De Porao, I became familiar with while in college radio, but I admit it's been some time since I dusted off any of their cassettes that I own.
Otherwise, I'm willing to bet that this will be the first time you've heard bands like Brujeria ("La Migra (Cruza La Frontera II)"), Criminal ("Hijos De La Miseria"), Lodo y Astalto ("El Monstruo") or Raimundos ("Rapante"). The latter group, according to the press release, is featured with a song made up of obscenities - proof positive that I've got to learn another language to increase my vocabulary.
What sets Metalo apart from a lot of today's metal isn't the intermixing of languages (and there are some English vocals on this disc), it's the intensity of the performances. Oh, it's not that some bands out there today aren't putting their all into it, but it's that these groups on Metalo are out not only to entertain their countrymen and women, but also to be the standard-bearers for a new genre of metal. And, with almost no exception, it proves to be an interesting journey.
While I think you'd get more out of Metalo if you spoke Spanish, even people like me who don't know the language can enjoy the music and the vocal rhythms created. Metalo proves that there is more to metal than what exists in the borders of the United States.