Barcelona D-Beat

I’ve finally managed to procure a copy of the self-titled 12” by Barcelona’s d-beat warriors Instinto and it was definitely worth the wait. A friend of mine from over that way recommended them, but it took me a while to get around to locating an actual copy of it, and of course then I found out that it was available on Bandcamp for free.

The first thing that should be said about this record is that it rocks with supreme fury. It has a sound that is quite distinctive, differing in many important respects from the take on this musical format that one tends to hear from bands originating in more northerly climes. Although by my calculations they are tuned down to D, There is much less of a reliance on downtuning to generate musical force. Instinto’s music is lighter in terms of tone and atmosphere than bands like Martyrdöd or Disfear. This is not to say that the music lacks power. Quite the contrary, actually. There is an aggression and melodicism here that gives the music real guts. They sing in Spanish, their lyrics hitting on a lot of the sort of anti-capitalist themes that make this music important

Perhaps this might be the time to note that there is a sense in which Instinto’s take on the d-beat form harkens back to the origins of this particular variety of hardcore. In the days of Crude SS and Anti-Cimex, there wasn’t the fixation on using low tunings to create heaviness. Rather, the force of the music was created through belligerence and passion. Instinto is very much an updated form or this approach and they use it to great effect.

This more light and airy take on d-beat made me a bit curious about other bands in that region. There seems, at least looking from the outside, to be a pretty active d-beat scene going on in Barcelona. Going through Instinto’s material, I found a couple of other bands that will definitely appeal to fans of aggressive, politically conscious hardcore.

A good place to start is the Kremón Records comp Barcelona Käos that came out in 2009. From start to finish this is an excellent release. It features cuts from 20 bands, none of which I had heard before, but all of which merit further study. High points include Avoid Notes “Tambores de Guerra,” Atxanta “Virus” (which bears a resemblance to early Ratos de Porão), and No Conforme “Nightmare,” but the thing that really impresses about this comp is the overall quality of the cuts.

Infäme, who apparently share at least one member with Instinto, have a sound that is similar in a lot of respects to Instinto, but with slightly simply song structures and a somewhat cleaner sound. They put out an LP in 2008 (self titled) which rocks most excellently. But for the fact that they are sung in Spanish, these songs wouldn’t have seemed out of place on that Varning För Punk collection of early Swedish hardcore that Distortion issued in 1994. Well, except for the fact that the production values here are much better than those found in the early Swedish hc recordings.

Since their LP came out, Infäme have put out a couple of ep’s. They seem to just title their records in the order that they came out, so that their most recent release (which came out in May of last year) is simply called III. It does reflect a certain amount of stylistic development, but it’s pretty much in line in terms of content and approach with their earlier release: d-beat in a standard tuning played with precision and enthusiasm.

Last, but not least (at least in terms of this all too brief exposition) is Totälickers. These guys have a ton of releases out (they’ve been around since 2005 or 2006 as far as I can tell), and everything that I’ve heard so far rocks like a hurricane. Clean and aggressive hc with a little less focus on melody that Instinto and a bit more directness in terms of song structure as well. Their El Poder Absoluto Aniquila La Vida, released in 2010, features ten cuts of catchy, angry, anarcho-hardcore. The vocals are clearer than a lot of music in this genre, which is a good thing if one is trying to understand lines sung in one’s third language. Earlier this year they released live album recorded in Prague, and the bits that I’ve heard of that are really first rate. This is definitely a band from whom I want to hear more.

Ok, that’s all of got on this, although I know that there is a lot that I’ve left unsaid. I am by no means an expert on what goes on in Barcelona. If there is anyone out there with more immediate knowledge of what the scene there is like and how these bands fit into it, we at A Thousand Trivs would certainly welcome your input. On the strength of what I’ve heard so far, there looks to be a lot of interesting stuff going on there.

Magadh

One Response to “Barcelona D-Beat”

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