As the world has become more globalized in the past decades, English has taken hold as the unifying language to conduct business, political and cultural affairs – music being no different. To reach an international audience, singing in English has become almost a pre-requisite to achieve any kind of success. Metal is no different, even in the 80s bands from non-English speaking countries opted for the language of Shakespeare to have a wider appeal. Even bands who sang in their native tongues like Barón Rojo or Sortilège opted to release (sub-par) English language versions of some of their most famous albums.
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.
While this single only contains two tracks (Veloz Invencible/Duro Metal), the songs are effusive and captivating – showing the best parts of the genre. Stylistically, one could probably compare Acero Letal’s style to that found in early 80s Judas Priest circa Screaming for Vengeance/Defenders of the Faith or other contemporaries of the time (Acid, Scanner, Agent Steel, etc); but also some influences from old school Spanish-speaking peers (V8, Resistencia, Barón Rojo).
The single starts with “Veloz Invencible”, the longer of the two tracks and clocking in at just over 6 minutes. In this song Acero Letal just to demonstrate their more technical abilities, with the song being more instrumentally oriented and delivering a good dose of twin guitar attacks, rapid percussion. The vocals on this song take a backseat to guitarists JAG and Bastian delivering solo after solo of the highest quality.
With “Veloz Invencible” done, this gives way to the real delight of the single – “Duro Metal”. Unlike the previous track, this song is about trying to forge a catchy and anthemic speed metal tune. And in this, Acero Letal have succeeded quite well. The tempo is slightly more decelerated, giving way to a very galloping sounding and melodic rhythm section accompanied by JAG’s powerful voice bellowing out “Duro Metaaaaaaaaaaaal, Duro Metal”. The biggest surprise here is the sudden emergence of keyboards in the middle of the track, reminding one of the experimentation bands like Barón Rojo and V8 introduced in some of their tracks (“Concierto Para Ellos” and “Si Puedes Vencer al Temor” respectively). Luckily, the keyboards do not sound cheesy at all and give the track a nice change of pace, before transitioning to a nice melodic solo and before giving way to the remainder of the track.
This single came out in 2014 and since then, there has been wait for a full length. While originally scheduled for a Witches Brew release, Dying Victims is scheduled to release the record at some point in the near future. In the meantime, I would encourage any speed metal fan or those who enjoy Spanish-speaking acts to give this single a whirl. Once again, Chile demonstrates they have one of the strongest heavy metal scenes in Latin America.
Release rating: 85/100
Favourite track: Duro Metal