The Mexican-American extreme metal band Brujeria was formed in 1989 and until recently its members’ identity and social profile was a secret. In a way it still is, as the members appear only with covered faces, but some of the guests or contributors of the band are now known, like Dino Cazares (guitar), and Raymond Herrera (drums) from Fear Factory, Billy Cloud (Faith No More), Jeffrey Walker (Carcass) and Shane Embury (Napalm Death). Based in Los Angeles, Brujeria formed during a time when the situation in the city was on fire. The anti-immigrant agenda and police brutality caused riots from the minorities in the area. This affected the music scene as well, and Brujeria has incarnated this situation successfully. Along with the impact of the social and political situation, the band has also created a myth around its name. Songs about Mexican and South-American drug lords and others with satanic lyrics provoked rumors about the social status of Brujeria’s members.

Those who are into the grindcore scene have probably discovered Brujeria someplace with their song ‘Revolución‘ (from the album ‘Raza Odiada‘, 1995, Roadrunner Records). Since they didn’t appear in many live shows, it has been difficult to create mass appeal. Their last album was in 2000 (‘Brujerizmo‘, Roadrunner Records), and sixteen years later they released the powerful single ‘Viva Presidente Trump!‘, and on September 16th, the day of Mexican Independence, the full-length album ‘Pocho Aztlan‘ via Nuclear Blast.

The title of the album means “Wasted Promised Land” and the lyrics are, as all of the work of Brujeria, in Spanish. The album opens with the self-titled folk song ‘Pocho Aztlan‘, followed by ‘No Aceptan Imitaciones‘, which among others, really stands out. You don’t really have to know Spanish to broadly understand the lyrical themes. ‘Profecia Del Anticristo‘ and ‘Bruja-‘ have a satanic and witchcraft (the English word for brujeria) theme. ‘Plata O Plomo‘, another song which stands out, means “Silver or Lead.” (“Take the Money or Take a Bullet”) – A term which was widely used by the cartel drug leaders in Mexico and South America. The intro is from a news broadcast in which a fatal incident between drug dealers is described. The official video of this song shows really graphic footage of this incident.

Technically speaking, ‘Pocho Aztlan‘ is a classic death/grindcore album with many Carcass and Napalm Death influences. There is also a quite punky mood, especially in the last 4-5 songs, which peaks with the last song where Brujeria covers, but also alters, ‘California Über Alles’ of Dead Kennedys, calling it ‘California Über Aztlan‘. I think Brujeria will enrich its fanbase with this album, due to its good production, its lyrical content, and a big tour that the band decided this year to do, in the USA, South America, and Europe.

Mary Kalaitzidou