The Link-Up Spell: 3 metal bands to remind you that Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba still need help!
I urge you today to help our comrades in Latin America with rightful tunes from Disterror, Dantesco and Combat Noise. We are going to rebuild this world with passionate metal!
2017 has been the worst year for so many places it is ridiculous. Poor countries, however, received the worst backlash, and my comrades in Latin America were met with multiple hurricanes, storms and earthquakes with thousands of deaths and immeasurable costs to infrastructure.
Besides the horrendous inequality in their societies, Mexico endured two major unexpected telluric events in a matter of days. Nearly 500 people were killed, and there are reports of more than 9000 injured. At the same time, Puerto Rico and Cuba were obliterated by two major hurricanes, María and Irma. The outcomes of these events are still latent in these nations.
But we can give aid to those in an hour of need. Donate food and goods, or throw a few bucks to the valiant organizations giving their best to reconstruct those nations. I urge you to check these, these and these links to know which groups are crowfunding aid!
While helping our Latinamerican brothers, how about checking three great bands in their underground scenes? Crust, doom and death, all in one package for the full experience in the Caribbean:
Disterror (Crust punk)
The tourist city of Cancún is not only a millenary paradise. The “nest of serpents” was a Mayan outpost with different buildings to help the navigation and was later transformed by two visionary bankers. In the beginning, the indigenous around these parts communed with the crystalline waters of the Caribbean Sea and the perils of the virgin forest, erecting important buildings that still survive the passage of time. But, in a more recent scenario, the modern predation of the tourist industry that pushed the city construction swallowed the deep ancestry of the Mayan past, and the seeds of inequality spawned the grotesque indifference of the barriers between riches and poor.
In this volatile ambience, the d-beat outfit Disterror conjures the anarchistic shouts of crust and mixes it with an unholy dose of blackened metallic malevolence. Formed around 2010 by bassist and vocalist Romeo, the band covered all their rage in a short, but impressive discography.
Their debut album, Catharsis ended as a DIY-fueled storm of cataclysmic proportions. The music is caustic, loud and raw, with plenty of influences to pick and dissect. Fans of Amebix, Iskra and Disfear will be pleased in the shores of this Cancùn blasphemous punk party.
However, the record pays a filthy tribute to thrash and black metal, incorporating foreign guitar riffing to the bitter Molotov cocktail of the Discharge lineage. Certainly, tagging Disterror is a disservice to their youthful nature of extreme experimentation.
Expansive bass tones and heavy driven drum swings are sometimes interconnected to a wall of guitars which greatly syncopate the D-Beat, but also switch to minor key melancholy or joyful thrash metal commando attacks. “Condemned to Survive” and “Raíces”, for one part, walk along a truthful aggressive path; for the other side, tracks, like the epic “Gilgamesh”, are meaty and expressive pieces that are constructed in a longer template with a different color palette than the traditional punk paradigm.
Catharsis as a whole, can become an example of the Mexican scene: enraged, raw, but also truly passionate.
Dantesco (Epic doom metal)
Believe it or not, doom metal is one of the forgotten genres in the Latin scene. I suppose it is the lack of finances for equipment or the different tastes towards music in general, which makes the primordial subgenre one of the less practicedin these latitudes.
Cayey is a town located in central Puerto Rico. A tranquil place with tobacco and sugar farms with a rich cultural heritage. But, surprise to everyone, although it’s home to plenty of ‘reggaetoneros’ who travel all Spanish countries to disseminate their musical mercantilism, it is also the land of incredible epic doom!
Dantesco formed in 2003, but with hard work they became one of the most renowned names of the underground in the tiny isle. Led by the powerful and commanding voice of Erico “La Bestia” Morales, a towering vocalist with an incredibly versatile voice, they have five full length records packed with great songs. Imagine a Messiah Marcolin born in a Caribbean paradise and you get the idea.
I really recommend to check De La Mano De La Muerte and We Don’t Fear Your God, two fine stone tablets replete with riffing conjurations and perfectly placed hooks. In their discography, “La Bestia” Morales sings about macabre historic tales and religion debauchery in a deep Christian country like theirs, and all of these concepts are honestly convincing thanks to his (probably) professionally trained vocal attack.
Nevertheless, riffs, drumming, bass and solos are exquisite altogether. Besides the cool vocal department, which is seasoned with great choruses, the guitar duo has total control of the tempo changes and incorporate heavy metal victories with soulful melodies. “La Tempestad” is probably my favorite track of theirs, and that one is probably the best resume Dantesco can offer: an eight minute dark mass of epic and progressive proportions.
I know fans of Candlemass, Solitude Aeternus, early Trouble and Doomsword will put these noble Puerto Rican warriors in their radar. Death awaits in the Borinquen land.
Combat Noise (Death metal)
One of the most hostile environments towards metal music could be Cuba. Talking about this country is a minefield; everyone has their own opinion about politics and history, so the Combat Noise death metal panzer machine is a good place to redirect the discussion toward the metal minorities, isolated in the “Caribbean Pearl”.
Since 1995, Combat Noise has been dedicated to spread the napalm bombs of death metal. Just like the mighty Bolt Thrower, the music speaks volumes of their style and talks by itself. Totally in your face and with shades of grind, the Havana tactical group delivers a scorching tribute to the UK legends with a groovy idiosyncratic twist.
In fact, groove is a common trait within Latin metal, but, unlike many of their peers, these Cubans do it the right way. Drums have a great swing and pull back and forth the strings, along mammoth marching rhythms or double bass machine gun fire. Everything in this band is military extermination, with lyrics in English talking about warfare.
Pointed as one of the promises of their truly passionate and underground scene, Combat Noise also became a staple for the documentary portraits about Cuban metal. That success is well deserved. Splashed with a strong anti-imperialist and anti-US component in their concept, the band is also capable of true metal ballistics, employing face melting grinding brutality and mid-tempo assaults.
Even with the indifference of the population towards extreme music and their State controlled environment, these guys became a cult favorite for many on the Isle, a scene made with self-financing, which faces difficulties to make gigs or to obtain instruments. So far, Frontline Offensive Force is the best bet, since their material is hard to get online. Pay attention to the blasphemous rendition of the famous Star Wars march in “The Empire Strikes First”, the spinal breaking “AK-47” and the anthemic “Cuba Death Metal” to get completely annihilated by the insane Combat Noise.
Imagine enjoying these sick tunes with some fellow Cubans in a clandestine outpost. War is loose thanks to these maniacs!
What do you think of these bands? Would you like more of Latin American mania? Stay tuned for more and remember to help us to give a new hope for these incredible countries!
The Link-Up Spell is a weekly Toilet ov Hell column about music, movies, books, retro video games and guaranteed Elfic nonsense. If you want to contact the author to send your material, mail us at toiletovhell [at] gmail.com with the subject “The Link-Up Spell” or message him on social media.