The “Latino Satans” Have Finally Returned
Brujeria as a tangible group is just as hard to keep up with as the “Latino Satan” death/grind style of music that they make. Their themes teeter on triggering listeners that speak Spanish through unabashed lyrical expression against the Christian faith, an extreme hatred for “whitey” and a fair support of immigration—all things that over the last 27 years since their inception have remained intriguing facets of their existence.
Brujeria’s violently Satanic Mexican drug overlord gimmick may have put them on the outs back when their debut full length Matando Gueros came out in 1993, but politically charged ears have grown more and more receptive to the radicalness of modern times. It’s been 16 years since their last full length, Brujerizmo, and the departure of the last two remaining original members, Asesino (Dino Cazares of Fear Factory) and Güero Sin Fe (Billy Gould of Faith No More), but Pocho Aztlan still contains much of the same crazy roots as the Brujeria of days past.
With Carcass’ Jeff Walker now playing bass as El Cynico and Napalm Death’s Shane Embury (Hongo) still shredding on guitar, the string work on Pocho Aztlan is definitely a spotlight element, whether it’s at the foreground or more of a rhythmic element. On “Profecia Del Anticristo,” Hongo’s guitar work is subdued, and accompanied by heavy bass lines and a tribal take on drumming that makes the song less gritty than the rest of the album.
“Plato O Ploma” is sort of difficult to get through, depending on which part of the song you’re focusing on. There are traces of Soulfly-like sounds throughout the album, but they are particularly present on this track, which is coupled with an industrial metal feel a la Ministry and random bits of “rapping,” which will make the track skippable for some. “Debilador” has the most classic Brujeria sound to it, even down to the mastering, which battles with tracks like “Culpan La Mujer” that have a more refined instrumentation. Their decision to close out the album with their cover of “California Uber Alles” by Dead Kennedys (dubbed “California Uber Aztlan” on Poncho Aztlan) works perfectly, as it offers humorous relief while still showing their punk side.
Established fans of Brujeria will feel the album a great return after their 16 year silence, but newbies may find the 13 track production a bit abrasive and the concept hard to grasp. Yet those that are looking to Brujeria for the sense of rebelling against the current social, political and economic state of the country will always appreciate their sentiment.