As heavy metal grew in Spain during the 1980s, metal bands appeared in all regions of the country. In the midst of this explosion, on the 14th of August 1988, a new act by the name of Su Ta Gar played their first concert in the small village of Ondarru. Unlike their regional peers, they sung completely in Euskera (Basque). While this might not seem like a big deal, heavy metal there had always been delivered in Spanish to achieve the widest appeal possible. Euskera was reserved for the punk-influenced acts of the Basque radical rock scene. They were received with thunderous support and this was the spark that would push them forward, not knowing the legacy they were about to create.
You have the more aggressive vocals and a fast tempo that verges or veers into thrash territory, yet still retains a strong foundation in the heavy metal pioneered by the NWOBHM bands of the early 80s. It’s metal that is rough around the edges, but packs a potent punch and carries a good dose of sing alongs that get the blood flowing.
Northern Spain is home to a wide variety of legends and folklore tales. One of them is “La Santa Compaña”, a myth that revolves around a procession. The procession is leaded at midnight by a living person carrying a cross and holy water. This is not the bizarre part. The person is then followed by a flock of grieving souls in white robes with candles. While very few people are capable of seeing the dead, they leave behind the scent of wax in the air. Those who claim to have seen or felt their presence say they hear prayers or funerary songs. While no one knows precisely the meaning of their march, many suspect it is a way of announcing an impending death – another soul to join the ghastly congregation.
By 1985, thrash metal had become its own bona fide style. The new subgenre pushed boundaries of extremity, taking the galloping rhythm and guitar leads from the NWOBHM and combining it with the furious aggression of hardcore punk. Parallel to the growth of Thrash was Speed Meta.
Rkinis Raindi were a heavy metal/hard rock act formed in Gori (Stalin’s hometown) that had a short-lived career from 1991 until roughly 1994. Like other Soviet acts, they likely managed to obtain foreign rock music through the black market or buying Melodiya (the official state owned record company of the USSR) pressings of famous international acts.
While some may prefer English as a sung language (myself included), I also enjoy when bands sing in their native tongues if they feel more comfortable doing so. While there aren’t many noticeable acts choosing to do this, Acero Letal are one of the best Spanish speaking Heavy Metal acts of the past decade. Hailing from Chile and with only a demo and a single to their name, the band has nonetheless caught the attention of many through their unrelenting speed metal assault.
For any fans of Spanish speaking Heavy Metal, Kraken’s debut is a must listen. Not just because of its great musical qualities, but also how it represented a shining light in the darkest hours for Colombia. RIP Elkin Ramirez, one of the greats of Colombian metal.
When we think of the past, we tend to focus on the brighter bits while ignoring the bad parts that characterized it. This feels truer than ever in a genre like metal, where the bulk of classic releases for all the main genres were released in the 80s/90s. For this reason, there is a desire for many bands to emulate the sounds of the past and to relive the glory days.
One of the most perplexing and hotly debated topics in history (particularly economic) is the tragic descent of Argentina from one of the pillars of the world economy as late as the 1950s to just another South American country fraught with economic and political turmoil. To dive into the history of this country is a tiring task – one that would take multiple books just to cover certain epochs. Yet one period of time continues to scar the national collective – the military dictatorship of 1976 until 1983.
In the 90s, only Sweden and possibly Finland competed in overall popularity to the Norsk scene. In the midst of the Norwegian popularity, another country in Southern Europe was forging its own take of Black Metal. This country was Greece.