Brujeria – “Pocho Aztlan” (Nuclear Blast Records)
Originally featuring a stellar cast of Fear Factory’s Dino Cazares and Raymond Herrera as well as Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) and Billy Gould (Faith No More), Brujeria was a side project fictitiously themed as a band fronted by Mexican drug lords. However, when debut “Matando Güeros” came out matters soon took on their own form, firstly being perceived as being racist (noting the irony that some of the band members were themselves white) while the reality was no less worse being based on the murderous Matamoros death cult – as well as one of the most offensive and banned album covers of all time!!! With most of the original line-up departing soon after vocalist Juan Brujo has remained the one constant, taking on new members like Shane Embury and incorporating the politics of border immigration and Zapatista revolution alongside its staple of drugs, black magic and violence. These days Brujo has drafted in more legendary veterans like Jeff Walker (Carcass, Blackstar) and Nick Barker (Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir) although by all accounts little has changed in the cult of Brujeria! Their first album in 16 years, “Pocho Aztlan” is still sung in Spanish, resonating all the darkness, foul lingo and chupacabra magic that its predecessors had. Brujo, still with machete, Mexican flag and lucha libre persona barks his hoarse guttural rapped out vocals in a Mr T-meets-metal of death / grind proportions – made all the more murderous thanks to the superior quality of his gringo backing band – more irony! Now touring regularly, there’s certainly a more live aspect to songs like ‘Profecia Del Anticristo’, ‘Satongo’ and ‘Mexico Campeon’ with lots of catchy grooves, rhyming lyrics and singalong choruses delivered even more potently by multiple rapid fire vocals from additional vocalists El Sangron and old hand Pinche Peach. Ciudad Juarez across the border from El Paso might be rated one of the most murderous cities in the world, but “Pocho Aztlan” comes pretty close musically in defining extremity.