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8 Kalacas - Fronteras Award winner

8 Kalacas
by Andrew Harvey at 16 June 2022, 3:13 PM

An inspiring seven piece band we have in the form of a skacore based sound, 8 KALACAS come from Orange County, California (USA). I have to say I didn’t know what to expect from this band as they have been going strong since 2003, hailing from the same hunting ground as AVENGED SEVENFOLD and SOCIAL DISTORTION. It was said that they are the harbingers of a new era and that their unique blend of metallic hardcore, ska and traditional Mexican elements in California and the rest of of the Divided States, the massive seven piece brotherhood is ready to take on the rest of the world.

The band is led by two singers; SNR KALACA and GETSE, guitarist STEVE-E, bass guitarist SICK, drummer ADAM plus a trumpet and trombone players who are CHORIZ and GIO. They have had two albums up to now, their debut self titled album in 2011 and KILL THE RADIO in 2014. Now they have returned in 2022 as their new album FRONTERAS sets the bar high enough. We kick off with “Frontera” as the hardcore cymbal hits combined with ska guitar as we hear amp feedback into full band unison topped off with brass accompaniment.

The contrast of clean and slightly darker vocals are quality sounding as good as guitar provides a crescendo with drums where brass instrumentation gives the track some colorization. The drive towards the end is faster; the guitar leads the way as we enter track two. “Pudrete” as a sort of a metalcare guitar and drums are in play as it competes with brass additions once more. Tempo is very upbeat as vocals follow the ska sound but not forgetting heavier, nastier vocals. The partnership of drums, guitar with vocals is insane as instrumentation without brass is very interesting and catchy as brass returns.

Mutante” with sizzling hot guitar riffs and brass slightly gloomy in tone and vocals scream louder as cleaner vocals are inclusive. Drums play a pulse racing, blast beat too as guitar triumphs over with melodic tone as brass accents the time structure. Pounding metalcore/ska combination brings us into the next track which is “Esquizofrenia”. A tighter sound double time drum pattern serenades the brass embellishments where vocals shout then we are treated to a drum breakdown or solo which I love. The ending with pacy drums and clean vocals set the tone for the next track.

R2Rito” with an alarm clock and possibly a car engine noise then drums crescendo as they hit climatic periods where other instruments provide cover. Vocals are so effective and rhythmic giving the Latin based feel here as there are headbanger sections for fans to jump and down to. “Labios Negros” containing more upbeat ska grooves that will make you want to dance along to as there are more solo sections for guitar, drums and brass instrumentation. “Luna” with melodic guitar riffs and brass accompaniment fires up as drums play an offbeat ska groove, as does guitar in rhythmic movement.

Vocals as lyrics spoken in Spanish as the track spoils us with drum solos as the Latin feel is inescapable. The track slows down in the outro as we head into “Garras” which opens with amazing drumming as the hardcore guitar takes control, heavier than before. Double kick patterns also appear as cymbal hits accent the guitar riffs but brass does come in eventually. Electrifying guitar is a nice addition as we move into “Luz Y Fer” as brass carries the melody with vocals joining forces with ska feel drumming.

Drums lead the way for soloistic movement as guitar also triumphs. “Gato” as guitar retains the upbeat rhythmic movement and brass uplifts drums, egging drums on a ramping gesture. Guitar switches to glam or classic rock but briefly as ska-core elements close out. “Flatline” a short 2 minute piano sonata with guitar sets the tone for the finale which is “1941” opens as marching drums married with processed guitar. Short solos as the tempo is cut back to include mixture of ska, hardcore and latin vocals but brass certainly enjoy their incoming notation. Guitar guides the final moments as drums muffle down and brass also lower their input as a vocal harmony jumps in to allow lead vocals close out with all instruments bowing out.

Overall, I very much enjoyed listening to this album. It has so many new elements that are certainly new to me when they are put together, including the ska and metalcore sounds as well as Latin feel rhythms. The vocals as well are so unique that they are very clear and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this band will go far and this new album is probably just the start of their next step in the right direction. The band instrumentation with brass, then the rest with guitars, vocals, bass and drums simply define the sound this band have been working on to master and they are doing it extremely well. A fantastic album and I would highly recommend them if you have listened to some ska bands before, because it’s an honour to have been listening to this album.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Frontera
2. Pudrete
3. Mutante
4. Esquizofrenia
5. R2Rito
6. Labios Negros
7. Luna
8. Garras
9. Luz Y Fer
10. Gato
11. Flatline
12. 1941
Snr Kalaca - Vocals
Getse - Vocals
Steve E - Guitar
Sick - Bass Guitar
Adam - Drums
Choriz - Trumpet
Gio - Trombone
Record Label: Atomic Fire Records


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