Metal and Spain: an Insider’s Perspective
Hello fellow flushers!! My name is MoshOff. I was born in and currently live in the mythical land of SPAIN. I’m here to tell you about my (sometimes) great country!
If you pay attention to the news, you might be thinking “Poor thing, are you OK? Can you afford clothes? Aren’t you sick of eating tacos all day??”. If any of those questions popped into your head, then QUE TE JODAN, PUTO YANKI EGOCÉNTRICO.
Did you notice the distinct lack of “Pendejo”, “Pinche” and “Güero” in my insult? Good!! That’s the first step towards realizing…
SPAIN ISN’T MEXICO GODDAMMIT
Whenever I’m in the States there’re always an alarming number of people who believe that Spain and Mexico are one and the same, because why would two countries that have nothing but (barely) the same language in common be different, right? They’re both worse than America, so why should I care about being able to tell the difference?
First of all, the type of Spanish spoken in Spain (Castellano) is quite different from the type of Spanish spoken in Mexico. Suffice it to say it’s comparable to British English and American English: different accents and VERY different names for things.
Second of all, don’t let the tan fool you: most “native” Spañards are as Caucasian as they come (myself included), so if you pictured a Spanish person and he wasn’t white then YOU’RE PROBABLY A RACIST. Not really. But Spain didn’t actually have a lot of racial diversity until the 80s came around. Why? Dictatorship, that’s why!! (I’ll get into that later).
There are many more differences to bring up (food, climate, etc.), but you probably get the idea. So the next time you meet a Spaniard, don’t give him a Mariachi hat and take him to El Rodeo so he “feels at home”. Please.
Also, like I sort of mentioned in the first paragraph: if you watch the news, you might be aware that Spain is going down the toilet. We don’t have any money, nobody has a job, and the government is dismantling the public health system that took a good 30 years to build faster than you can say “Haxl Posenberg”. And if that wasn’t bad enough, THE KING RESIGNED (like I give a crap, but it was a pretty big deal). All of this is true, but don’t let the lamestream media fool you: it could be a lot worse. YAY!!
Moving on to the important stuff: the Metals of Spain. To give you an idea of where metal in Spain is coming from, let me give you a bit of historical context.
The Spanish Civil War ended in 1939, after 3 years and close to 200.000 casualties, and from then until 1975 Spain was run by a dictator with a huge Napoleon complex whose name I’m not going to type because he doesn’t deserve the press (hint: he was a super chill and understanding dude). There was very little information about the outside world until the 60s rolled around, and only then did foreign popular music start to make its way to people’s earholes at a slow and supervised rate.
This meant that hard rock/metal bands started to sprout up in the late 70s/early 80s (after the dictatorship) and got popular during the 80s. Most of these bands were heavily influenced by AC/DC, Iron Maiden, blues-oriented rock ‘n roll, and stuff like that (thrash wasn’t a thing yet, and even when it was Spain was really behind schedule). As the 80s progressed, some of these bands started to ape the Glam aesthetic (and the music to, to some extent).
From what I understand it was a pretty underground scene at first, and all these “original” Spanish metal bands are super important to every metalhead over 40. I don’t really care that much for any of them, and some of them barely qualify as metal to my ears. If for some reason you ever hear an older Spanish person talk about “heavy” (pronounced he-bi in Spanish), there’s a solid chance it might be in reference to one of these bands. Anyway, here they are, in no particular order:
Later came the 90s; these three bands (of different sub-genres) are among the most popular in the Spanish metal scene, even nowadays:
Hailing from the region where I live in, Tierra Santa (Holy Land) play pretty straightforward Power Metal, you’ll probably dig them if you’re into that. I’m not huge on PM to start with, but for some reason Spanish lyrics make everything sound like 100000x more epic, and my brain just can’t deal with it.
“Spanish Thrash” is a phrase often used to describe these fellows (not by me though). You might be starting to see a pattern here: yes, Spañards like their metal epic and cheesy. Their current drummer used to be in Wormed, that’s about all I care to know about them.
Mägo de Oz
Although this song in particular might not be the most representative of theirs, it’s by far their most well-known. If you’re into folk-y stuff with lots of violins, flutes and lyrics about drinking and partying (and pirates), this is your band!!
The bands that I’ve talked about so far are some of the most popular in the Spanish metal scene as a whole. You’ve probably been able to tell I’m not exactly fond of any of them. So to finish this mother up, here are some of my favorite extreme bands from Not Mexico:
Tech-Death-ish band from Madrid. Reminds me of Cryptopsy with (more and better) pig squeals and lyrics that would make Carl Sagan say “You might want to cool it with the space stuff”. Buy their shit, pronto.
– Bandcamp: http://wormed.bandcamp.com/
Grind band from Galicia. Alleged pioneers in the whole horror movie samples thing.
They hardly play anywhere, so if for some twist of fate you get the chance to, go see them. LITTERALLY as I was putting the finishing touches on this article I read on facebook that they just broke up. Dammit.
– Bandcamp: http://doomentiarecords.bandcamp.com/album/ruin
Goregrind band from Madrid. I saw these guys live last year and the singer was gnawing at a plastic leg and waving it around. Fun, kinda-ignorant, Carcass worship. What more do you need?
– Bandcamp: http://haemorrhage.bandcamp.com/
Hardcore/Crust/Grind band from Barcelona. Just recently discovered this fine bunch of gentlemen after I heard that they opened for Napalm Death last year and upstaged them pretty hard.
– Bandcamp: http://teething.bandcamp.com/
Grind band from Madrid. No-bullshit, straightforward grindcore with a bit of blackened-ness sprinkled around here and there for good measure.
– Bandcamp: http://undervultures.bandcamp.com/
No post would be complete without a shameless plug for my band, Ernia! We’re the Ernia with no h AND no umlaut, it turns out that there’s another band called Ërnia from Spain that formed around the same time we did. They play crusty grindy stuff and cover Nasum just like we do. What kinda odds are those? Anyway, we’re currently in the process of recording new tunes, all of which kick the living shit out of our other material.
– Bandcamp: http://erniatheband.bandcamp.com/
That’s all I have for today. Thanks for reading, people! Hopefully you know more about Spain than you did 10 minutes ago. I’ll be back if I don’t get flushed!!