Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In The Spotlight: Peru

As an experiment, I've decided to do a series of micro-reviews. In each entry, I'll talk briefly about three new releases from a specific country outside the metal mainstream. As the title indicates, this first post will be on selections from Peru.


Reino Ermitaño are a doom group based out of Lima, Peru. Their fourth album, Veneración del Fuego, came out in April. The group clearly draws on Black Sabbath as a primary influence, but they take a fuzzier, more stoner-oriented turn. Heavy, groovy riffs and some excellent psychedelic leads drenched in distortion make up the body of the record. What really stood out to me the most, though, were the vocals. High but not flowery, strained and gritty around the edges, and with a strangely androgynous quality (the vocalist is a woman who sounds more like a high-pitched man) I found the singing to be absolutely captivating. On the whole, a very good record.


Avoidant, another Lima-based act, are a technical death metal band who formed in 2010 and have not yet produced a full-length album. This summer they self-released an EP, entitled Morphology, which is their debut recording barring a demo from last year. The group have a strong, driving sound with excellent instrumental skills and rabid vocals. In several places they actually opt to lay back a bit and take an almost "chill" approach, giving a welcome sense of ebb and flow all too rare in technical death metal. This isn't my favorite type of metal, but I enjoyed this all the same. The band is also promoting free downloads of the EP from here. With no price tag, it's worth checking out if you like technical death.


Yana Raymi are a tribal metal band hailing from Huancayo, Peru. After releasing a series of demos over the past seven years, this summer's Guerreros del Sol is their first full-length album. The use of native woodwinds provides the key folk influence in their music, apart from the lyrical focus on the ancient mythology of the region. The chugging guitar work kind of has a sparse, ultra-mellow death metal root to it in the body of a lot of the songs, but the music in general is pretty relaxed and open sounding with plenty of quieter passages. The vocals are sometimes clean, but they are primarily delivered in a weirdly hollow sounding growl. This isn't the meatiest record out there, but it's an interesting and relatively accessible piece of tribal metal.

And for all the nitpickers out there, I know 'tribal metal' is just an informal term for a type of folk metal, but I like the way it sounds as a name and I rarely get an excuse to use it, so I'm not going to pass up a good opportunity to say it a few times in a post.


So that's the first installment in the series. I don't know exactly how many of these I'll do, but I intend to put up at least a few more over the course of this week. Also, I have quite a few reviews coming up over the next few weeks on Full Metal Attorney which I will provide links to as they are posted.

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