BRUJERIA - Esto Es Brujeria
September 11, 2023, 3 weeks ago
At this point, it's with a bit of hesitation I approach new Brujeria material. I was a young lad fresh to extreme metal when their second 7” dropped and literally horrified me. I mean, I believed it: these were Mexican druglords, no one knew who they were, and it was the most extreme music in the world.
I was 15, and the world was different, and it was easier to believe that stuff, and it was a lot of fun. And the band grinded hard and ugly, but as the years went on, they relaxed into a more groove-oriented death metal, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. I'm happy to report that Esto Es Brujeria—their fifth full-length—works, for the most part.
Opener “Esto Es” is absolutely brilliant with its usage of traditional instruments over top of grindcore—song of the year right here. Some songs, like “El Patron Del Reventon”, offer both slower, sludgey death metal and faster blasting, with the slower parts always threatening to enter that dull groove that Brujeria occasionally slouch into, while “Estado Profundo” features a maniacal vocal performance that will get you smiling every time. “Bestia De La Muerte” has a jackhammer blast to remember, and tunes like “G A-K” just sound like Brujeria, all ugly groove and funny-not-funny DM terror. Sure, I miss the sound from the first two 7”s too, but this is still great, still hysterical, song titles like “COVID-666” doing what they need to, Brujeria, amazingly, after all these years, still hitting all the sweet spots.
Do I wish the record was 33 minutes instead of 53? You better believe it, as after track 10 or so, it's just a blur, me cursing at Nuclear Blast's inability to just tell these guys that less is more with this stuff, but I guess it's hard to tell the murderous druglords in Brujeria what to do, even if their identities have long ago been revealed.