Brujeria – Pocho Aztlan

Brujeria
Pocho Aztlan
Released 16th September 2016
Grindcore/Death Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast


The Mexican-American death-grind band Brujeria are back with a new album ‘Pocho Aztlan’, their first full length release in sixteen years. ‘Pocho Aztlan’ follows ‘Brujerizmo’ which was released back in 2000. The band was originally formed in 1989 but they have been on hiatus various times due to line-up changes and the members being involved in other bands.

Now, before I start the review, I would like to clarify what exactly is death-grind metal. Well, the biggest clue is in the name “death-grind” combines the brutality of death metal with the ferociously fast speed of grindcore. So it’s loud, brutal, aggressive and fast; and about as melodic as a chainsaw… In Brujeria’s case, the grindcore elements come from Juan Brujo’s shouting and the overall feel and the speed of the music. There’s not a hell of a lot in the way of death metal on here, with the possible exception of drumming style and the odd guitar riff. These guys clearly just have a habit of bashing their instruments as hard as they can. The closest comparison I can think of would be Napalm Death – only in Spanish and with a slightly irritating vocal style.

As with their previous albums, the lyrical themes are pretty much the same: crime, drug use and smuggling all laced with a sizable amount of (possibly Mexican) slang, swear words and insults. For example Plata o Plomo is a clear reference to drug trafficking originally used by the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar. Bruja stands out as one of the very few tracks to feature a slight groove metal tinge in the guitars which makes it more tolerable than the majority of the album. Oh, and by tolerable I mean listenable – it is not great or even good by any means. The only decent song on here is their cover of The Dead Kennedys’ California Uber Aztlan which suits their style remarkably well.

In summary, to call this a death metal album would be a gross misunderstanding of the term. Brujeria’s chosen sound is primarily grindcore with the very occasional death metal tinge. As far as grindcore goes, it’s no match for bands like Napalm Death nor is it as fast or technical as The Berzerker nor as dark and creepy as Anaal Nathrakh.

2/5

Iza Raittila

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