As I approached the table to meet Fear Factory and get my brand new copy of Demanufacture signed at Rock of Ages in Garden City, I reached inside my brown paper bag and as I did so, Dino Cazares saw me and, for some reason, laughed and he asked me what I had for him. Smiling and remaining silent, I pulled out my copy of Brujeria’s Raza Odiada. Realizing what I held, Dino continued laughing as I went up to him and asked who was in the band. Obviously, I knew Dino was in the band. He then takes my CD and proceeds to sign it, which I wasn’t expecting. He then says Raymond’s also in the band and passes my CD to him for his signature. The interesting thing is they signed the CD with their Spanish names, Asesino and Grenudo respectively. I pursued my original question concerning the members of Brujeria, asking if certain musicians were involved and receiving a “no” as an answer to each inquiry. Bad guessing on my part, I suppose. What followed was a discussion about my discovery of the band, sound quality of Machetazos vs. Raza Odiada, and the band’s early vinyl releases, all including my botched efforts at trying to pronounce some of the song and album titles.
So…Brujeria, one of the only decent bands left on the once-mighty Roadrunner Records label, has a new album out called Brujerizmo. This third album is not necessarily a step forward, nor a step backwards. At this point in the band’s career, the album sounds like it’s “just another album” from Brujeria. You can expect certain musical qualities, such as the usual start-stop, chugging riffing with that heavy-ass guitar sound, all of which Dino’s known for in Fear Factory. The songs of Brujerizmo are as straightforward as you could expect from these Mexican satanic murdering drug lords, but the overall energy level is down from previous albums, most exemplified by the severe lack of blast beats and faster guitars and drumming in general. Of course I am reminded of Fear Factory due to similar-sounding riffs, not to mention the second track, “Vayan Sin Miedo”, which sounds too much like “New Breed” off Demanufacture. Certain moment on the album also bring to ming Diatribes-era Napalm Death. But then isn’t Shane Embury involved in this band? But although Brujeria really brings nothing new to the table from a musical standpoint, the vocals have been expanded to give some variety. They do this through the addition of a few different (guest?) vocalists, adding cleaner vocals at times. And obviously, because none of the lyrics are in English, the vocalists sound unique within the realm of death metal, due to the way they articulate their language, and possibly because of their accents also. This is what has always made main vocalist Juan Brujo so unique among death metal vocalists. All of this is wrapped up with great production, although I would have loved it if they went back to the old, shitty-sounding roughness of their earlier material, for it was that raw and horrible sound that interested me in the band in the first place (“Padre Nuestro” off At Death’s Door II”).
Raza Odiada was a huge improvement over Matando Gueros, and it was unlikely they’d be able to top it with Brujerizmo. The songs here could use more blast beats and aggression, like older material. Plus the songs could not only be longer, but also stand apart from each other a little more. But all that said, in reality, I don’t think Brujeria can do any wrong, for the band is practically a side project of several of the members, and is a creative outlet for some truly heavy death metal. And they have fun with it. Recognize that Brujeria is not to be taken seriously. Just listen to the strange and hilarious samples they’ve included on Brujerizmo. I think with these guys, it’s a love or don’t-care situation. As a fan, I am satisfied with this album, and you should be also. Just don’t expect something that will crush you like Raza Odiada did the first time you listened to it a few years ago. The last thing I’ll mention is the lack of “bonus” material. Matando Gueros included most of the Machetazos 7”, whereas Raza Odiada included the El Patron 7” plus a remixed track from the Machetazos 7”. That leaves one short song from the 7” left, plus the entire Demoniaco 7” that need to be put on CD. The brevity of Brujerizmo would have benefited from the inclusion of these old songs. And hell, why not include the two songs from the Spanglish 101 compilation? Check out the band’s interesting web site at: www.brujeria.com/
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