More Stuff from España

Maniac demo

Altercado Espiritual demo

Displague S/T

Those of you who were into punk, or underground music more generally, in the 1980s will remember the frequent discussions that arose over the pernicious influence of the record industry on music. Horror stories were legion of bands who had, for one reason or another, signed up to major labels only to be fucked over, sucked dry, and cast aside. One important impetus for the development of the post-1979 punk scene was the desire to create a culture outside of the sort of art as extractive industry that characterized (and continues to characterize) the music business. Having done a bit of work in radio and music journalism in the 1990s, I can attest to the deeply parasitic nature of the industry. A lot of things were funded by skimming money off of (or simply expropriating the work of) bands. I was always shocked by the number of hangers on who did nothing useful but whose livelihoods were guaranteed by the need for the promotion and distribution capabilities that the records companies could offer through their capacity to aggregate capital.

For some time it’s seemed to me that this has been changing. Digital technology has enabled lot of bands to present their music directly people without the intermediation of pressing plants and mastering services, to say nothing of the record companies themselves. People in the recording industry are wont to bitch about the effects that downloading is wreaking on the business. In the long term, I think the real challenge to them is that they are simply going to become irrelevant. There is probably no more important development in the history of modern underground music than the advent of Bandcamp. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s the flagship for a larger pattern of contact between bands and their listeners that, for the most part, factors the parasites out of the equation. Want to sell your music? You can do it. Want to give it away for free? You can do that too? Want to make the actual artifact available to your listeners (since some people still dig having the record or cd in their hands)? Nothing’s stopping you.

All of this is a long form way of illustrating how chuffed I am at the improved access that I now seem to have to music from far flung places (well, at least far flung from here). In my previous post, I talked about Valencia thrashers Tempesta. Their Demo-níaca demo is most excellent and can be had from Bandcamp. As previously mentioned, they specialize in aggressive, metal tinged hardcore with impressively guttural vocals and precise musicianship. Their demo came out in January of last year, if I’m not mistaken. Since then, they’ve also done split recordings with Winterstorm and Maniac. The former hail from the Canary Islands (and should not be confused with the black metal band from Andalusia or the darkwave act from the UK). It’s kind of funny to me that you would come up with a name like Winterstorm coming from a balmy place like the Canary Islands, but I give them credit for creating some fierce blasts of raw death metal.

Maniac come from Madrid and have some similarities to Tempesta, although they are really a proper metal band. Their demo was released earlier this year. It features six tracks of gruff speed metal with some death metal tendencies. They kind of sound like less guttural version of a band like Séance. They chug along mostly in middling tempos, but their music is really quite enjoyable. It’s not exceedingly complex, but they know what they are trying to accomplish and they do it with aplomb. Their singer has a pleasing gruffness and sounds sort of like a Spanish version of the guy from Guillotine Terror. They sing about the sorts of things you might expect: death, metal, hell, phantoms, yeah, you get the idea. Anyway, their demo can be had for free and is well worth your time.

You could really say that I am kind of an atavist. I do tend to gravitate to the kind of music that I’ve been listening to since the early 1980s, and it was for this reason that I got into the demo from Altercado Espiritual. Have you ever wondered what the This is Boston, Not L.A. comp sounded like in the ears of our Spanish colleagues? No? Well, I don’t suppose that I did either before I heard Altercado Espiritual’s demo. It’s not what you would think from the cover art, which features a deliciously amateurish take on Indian iconography. What emerges is obnoxious, early 80s Boston style hardcore with buzzsaw guitars and a really snotty attitude. The longest of their songs clocks in at 1:29, with most considerably shorter. Those who remember the early days of Boston H.C. will be reminded of Kill for Christ era F.U.’s, with maybe a little Impact Unit thrown in for good measure.

Finally, the find of the week for me has been the self-titled record released a couple of months ago by Displague. They are from Molins de Rei, which I think is somewhere in the neighborhood of Barcelona. If you’re wondering what they sound like, their name sort of spoils the surprise. This is d-beat hardcore played with precision, passion, and belligerence. Their sound is a little cleaner than a lot of bands that play this kind of music, but their songs are heavy and well arranged. Those who have heard Instinto will hear some similarities, particularly in terms of the melodic elements that they include in their songs, although Displague’s music is a little bit rawer. Their singer is really awesome. He sounds utterly desperate and it lends a really urgent dimension to their music.

Is that enough for now? I think so. More soon.

Magadh

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