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Brujeria - Pocho Aztlan

Pocho Aztlan
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 15 October 2016, 11:46 AM

BRUJERIA is a Death Metal/Grindcore band, formed in Mexico in 1989. The members portray Mexican drug lords in order to keep their identities secret. The word “brujeria” means “witchcraft” in Spanish. They had previously released three full length albums, but this is their first in 16 years, as many members of the band are involved in other musical projects as well. “Pocho Aztlan” contains twelve tracks, as well as a cover track of an infamous DEAD KENNEDYS song. The title track is tenuous at first, with spoken word and an air of suspense. From there it builds into a pretty traditional Death Metal sound, based on the open E chord. It has punch but lacks in impact. “Profecia Del Antocristo” is a little faster but lays on that straight line in the Death Metal genre that keeps it from being interesting. If no one told me based on the line-up, I wouldn’t suspect there is much more going on here than bass, guitar, drums and a vocalist, with some occasional back-up parts. “Plata O Plomo” however has some initial sampling, before the main riff caves in. Though it’s still pretty uniform, the chorus does have a nice rhythm, that reminds me somewhat of the Brazilian outfit SEPULTURA in that regard.

“Isla Del La Fafntasia” falls closer to a Grindcore song, or a super-heavy punk song. I can see where some Hardcore and Punk may have provided some influence to the band’s sound. “Bruja” is really the first song where the riff ventures out of predictable territory, though it is not terribly complex. I think at this point on the album you are not in for any surprises. “Culpan La Mujer” is similar in delivery, with a big assault on your ears and a lot of sonic presence. “Debilador” is the final studio track written by the band. The grungy and cloudy production keeps this sounding like an underground band, consistent with the secrecy of their identities. You would never guess they were assigned to a major label but it’s obvious the choice of this style of production was made by the band. The DEAD KENNEDYS cover is a real treat. They have a darker and more fuzzy take on the original, and of course it is sung in Spanish.

Some of the bass work on the album is pretty strong, though much of it gets lost in the final mix and the ever-present vocals dominate the music for the most part. The same can be said for the drumming. We know that the percussion is one of the more demanding things in this genre, and on this album that is every bit the case. Taken as a whole, the high points on the album are the sheer brutality of the tracks. But you’re not looking for much musicality here. Instead, they have a highly branded sound, based probably on the fans they have accrued up to this point in their career who expect a consistency in sound. To that end, they did not disappoint.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 5
Memorability: 4
Production: 6

2 Star Rating

1. Pocho Aztlan
2. No Aceptan Imitaciones
3. Profecia Del Anticristo
4. Angel del la frontera
5. Plata O Plomo
6. Satongo
7. Isla Del La Fantasia
8. Bruja
9. Mexico Campeon
10. Culpan La Mujer
11. Codigos
12. Debilador
13. California Uber Aztlan (Dead Kennedys cover)
Fantasma – Bass, Backing Vocals
Hongo – Guitars
Pinche Peach – Samples, Backing Vocals
Juan Brujo – Vocals
Pittis – Vocals, Guitars, Backing Vocals
Hongo, Jr. – Drums
El Cynico – Bass, Backing Vocals
El Sangron – Vocalls
Anton Reisenegger – Guitars
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 20 March 2023

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