Esto Es Brujeria

Nuclear Blast
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Esto Es Brujeria
02. El Patrón Del Reventón
03. Estado Profundo
04. Bruja Encabronada
05. G-A-K
06. Tu Vida Loca
07. Mexorcista
08. Bestia De La Muerte
09. Políticamente Correctos
10. Mochado
11. Perdido En El Espacio
12. Odio Que Amo
13. Testamento 3.0
14. Covid-666
15. Lord Nazi Ruso
16. Cocaína

From their brutal beginnings, BRUJERIA, Spanish for "witchcraft", has commandeered a notorious reputation. The maniacal death-grind unit's over-the-top album artwork has depicted the madness of cartel violence in the least subtle manner imaginable. While the imagery overtly suggests an exclusive Mexican background, and several members have been Latino Americans, they formed in LA back in 1989 and have featured numerous notable international metal musicians. Reading like a metal's who's who, members have included FAITH NO MORE's Billy Gould, FEAR FACTORY's Dino Cazares and Raymond Herrera, DEAD KENNEDYS' Jello Biafra, Nick Barker (CRADLE OF FILTH and DIMMU BORGIR),PENTAGRAM's Anton Reisenegger, CARCASS's Jeff Walker, CEPHALIC CARNAGE's Steve Goldberg, actress Jessica Pimentel, NAPALM DEATH's Shane Embury and Jesse Pintado. Traces of the project's early TERRORIZER-esque grind remain; however, there's a notable groove metal element that drives the bulk of BRUJERIA's back catalogue. This approach threads through their upcoming, fifth full-length, "Esto Es Brujeria".

Despite the incredibly violent aesthetics, there's no question that BRUJERIA and its followers have always had an up-beat, fun-loving mindset to the hymns that have touched upon everything from Satanism to drug smuggling and politics. "Covid-666" is a crowd friendly, bouncy number that's rooted in punk simplicity. The far-from-wholesome track "Cocaina"BRUJERIA's take on the 1976 classic rock classic "Cocaine" by singer-songwriter J.J. CALE popularized by Eric Clapton — lumbers forth with the chunky punch of early SIX FEET UNDER, back when they were good, anyway. Again, BRUJERIA's metamorphosis toward more hook-laden, popular aggressive stylings has been obvious for years.

A song like "Testamento 3.0" shows the act flexing its top-tier, world-class death-grind capabilities that easily lay most arm-crossing, wannabe underground bands to waste. Some snot-nosed elitists have suggested they are simply a gimmicky, cash-grab. A song like "El Patrón Del Reventón", however, confidently marries the talented ensemble's full-frontal extreme metal assault with the infectious quality that defined bands like SEPULTURA and FEAR FACTORY in the nineties. Similarly, "Estado Profundo" sounds like SLIPKNOT at its best, memorable and undeniably heavy, but much fiercer. The songs rabid, up-tempo fracas is led by Juan Brujo's absolutely insane, angry vocal, which vomits that sound like the ramblings of someone's enraged, drunken uncle in a way that's somehow rhythmic and musical.

"Esto Es Brujeria" is a reliable continuation of what acolytes want from the band and what they have been known for. The real-world brutality of the subject matter continues to be delivered with a frequently jovial approach. Sure, bands like MACABRE have done that before, but at the end of the day, there is only one BRUJERIA. Uptight, po-faced underground purists are likely to scoff as always, but BRUJERIA's seasoned ensemble doesn't need to prove itself to that crew, nor do they care to do so.

Author: Jay H. Gorania
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