BRUJERIA – Esto Es Brujeria

BRUJERIA – Esto Es Brujeria



The Californian grindcore death metal groove act Brujeria (Spanish: witchcraft), which performs their vocals exclusively in Spanish, was formed by John David “Juan Brujo” Lepe, Patrick “Adam Bomb” “Fantasma” Hoed, William David Gould “Güero Sin Fe” Junior (Faith No More) Eric Reed “Jello Biafra” “Hozicón Jr.” Boucher and (until 2005) Dean Albert Maury “Dino” “Asesino” Cazares (Fear Factory). Over the 35 year history, Shane Thomas “Hongo” Embury (Napalm Death), Ciriaco “Pinche Peach” Quezada, Raymond “Greñudo” Herrera (ex-Fear Factory), Gabriela “Pititis” Dominguez, Jesús Ernesto Pintado “Jesse Pintado” Cristo De Pisto” Andrade (R.I.P. 2006) (ex-Napalm Death), Antonio “Maldito X” Campos (ex-Fear Factory, ex-Ministry, ex-Soulfly), Nicholas Howard “Hongo Jr.” Barker (ex-Cradle Of Filth, ex-Dimmu Borgir), Jeffrey “El Cynico” Walker (Carcass), Adrian Paul “El Angelito” Erlandsson (At The Gates, The Haunted), Paul’s brother Daniel John “El Clavador” Erlandsson (Arch Enemy) Georg Anton Reisenegger “El Criminal” von Oepen (Criminal), Henry “El Sangrón” Sanchez and Jessica “La Encabronara” Pimentel, among others have passed the Brujeria gates, the current linup believed to consist of Juan Brujo (lead vocals), Fantasma (bass, vocals), Hongo (guitars, bass), Pinche Peach (vocals, samples), El Sangrón (vocals), El Criminal (guitars) and La Encabronara (female vocals).

According to Encyclopedia Metallum, the members of Brujeria portray Mexican drug lords who use nicknames to keep their identities secret. Many people still don’t know the identities of the band (as they’ve never been officially confirmed), but it is assumed by most that the true identities of the members listed above are correct. I can’t tell whether their, ahem, philosophy (including open Satanism) , especially given some of the members involved, is serious or tongue in cheek, although when you read the lyrics in tracks such as “Covid-666” with its “Corona virus has a Mexican name/Of course that’s why trompudo (a Mexican nickname for the former U.S. President Donald Trump) wants him dead”, or allusion to the fact that people were in difficult situation in those infamous days due to toilet paper in extremely short supply pretty much worldwide, one has to conclude that it is a gimmick, a shtick in the likeness of Slayer’s devout Roman Catholic frontman’s Tom Araya’s lyrical disdain for Christianity and sympathy for its arch enemy the Devil, and Brujeria also offers a similar approach in one of the standouts “Testamento 3.0” (Testament 3.0). Mostly, though, Brujeria members rightously hate on the rising white supremacy in the United States (and beyond) and its recent open and unashamed romance with the Republican Party, something they warned about already on their 2nd album Raza Odiada¹⁹⁹⁵ and the excellent opening title track subtitled “Peto Wilson” featuring a quick opening racist speech from an aspiring presidential candidate, so maybe these guys truly dab in witchcraft to be able to make such long term predictions in 1995 for the factual state of affairs 22 years later (2017)? After all, there’s that band’s moniker, which gives a double meaning to the title of this, their 5th (after Matando Güeros¹⁹⁹³ [Killing Whites], Raza Odiada¹⁹⁹⁵ [Hated Race], Brujerizmo²⁰⁰⁰ [Witchery] and Pocho Aztlán²⁰¹⁶ [Wasted Promised Land]) full length Esto Es Brujeria²⁰²³ released last September 15th via arguably the biggest metal label Nuclear Blast Records, the title reading obviously as a pseudo-eponymous as in “This Is Brujeria” but also “This Is Witchcraft” when given a full and complete translation. Is this witchcraft, then?

After giving this record a full four applications I have to conclude that this is, indeed, witchcraft. I’ve already covered the lyrics but there are actually other aspects, other witnesses to that fact. There are, for instance, those seriously creepy and layered vocals (downright demonic in “Estado Profundo” [Deep State]) which range from hardcore shots through grindcore squeals and death metal growls all of which are sometimes graced with heavy Mexican folklore flavors such as the trumpet in the opening “Esto Es” (This Is) or my favorite “Bestia De La Muerte” (Beast of Death) which has serious Fear Factory a’la Soul Of A New Machine¹⁹⁹¹ and Sepultura Roots¹⁹⁹⁶/early Soulfly vibes to it as well as an infectious melodic chorus. The tracks are mostly fast pace as if all the guys have ever been influenced by were Napalm Death’s Scum¹⁹⁸⁷ but then again, Brujeria itself was formed a mere two years later and this is supposed to be an expose on the band’s core sound so no surprise there. When they slow down they slow down to a doomy crawl as in the aforementioned “Testamento 3.0” which then reminds me of the debut Coal Chamber as I realize dude sounds like Dez Fafara most of the time. “Testamento 3.0” pretty much opens up the trifecta of the most interesting tracks followed by the aforementioned “Covid-666”, a fun rock’n’rolling hardcore punk tune recalling Sepultura’s “Biotech” probably not by accident if you remember that it was also about “cut-throat corporations don’t give a damn when lots of people die from what they’ve made” and that as of now there is officially no source of the Coronavirus (when just 4 years ago everyone swore by Wutan, China), and “Lord Nazi Ruso” (Lord Russian Nazi) which is almost certainly a thin veiled but well deserved indictment of Vladimir Putin, with its Slayer meets Prong’s Rude Awakening¹⁹⁹⁶ groove riffing. The addition of J.J. Cale’s cover of “Cocaine” in a Spanish metal version as a 16th track seems a bit superfluous but it is well done.

I could talk about Machine Head groove in “Odio Que Amo” (I Hate That I Love) or the Asphyxian and Lost Paradise¹⁹⁹⁰ Paradise Lost death/doom of “Perdido En El Espacio” (Lost in Space) or Behemoth’s Satanica¹⁹⁹⁹ (you don’t say!) in “El Patron del Reventon” in heaviness and intensity and especially rapid drumwork, or that My Dying Bride riff opening “Mochado” which goes nowhere or the seriously heavy Chaos A.D.¹⁹⁹³ Sepultura “Mexorcista” (Mexican Exorcist?) where vocals recall a bit of Mille Petrozza on Cause For Conflict¹⁹⁹⁵ or, finally, of the fact that most of this record sounds like what Napalm Death is currently doing which, at least would confirm the identity of Hongo as Shane Embury, I could talk about all this at length but I won’t because this is all you need to know before you step into el mundo de la Brujeria, that is, the world of Brujeria or…witchcraft? If you’re a Brujeria fan then this will immensely please you but if you’re looking for something deep and innovative, well, you’ll understand my score. De todos modos divertirse con este.

Leave a Reply