Brujeria – Pocho Aztlán (Nuclear Blast)

Genre: Grindcore/Extreme Metal

Masking their identities, posing as menacing latino drug lords, using a photo of a severed head as an album cover… it’s fair to say that the world had seen nothing like Brujeria when the band emerged from California 27 years ago. The fact that vocalist Juan Brujo spat out his politically-charged lyrics in Spanish – over a violent grind/death soundtrack – was a bit of an ear opener too…

Do Brujeria 2016 still have that air of menace that hung around them in the early 90s? Probably not – especially as their line-up has long since been a place for European metal luminaries to have a bit of fun (step forward Jeff Walker and Nick Barker, among others).

And there’s certainly nothing as incendiary (or catchy) as earlier material like Matando Güeros or Raza Odiada (Pito Wilson) on Pocho Aztlán.

Yet the album – Brujeria’s first full-length in 16 years – isn’t a failure… and there is plenty to get your teeth into.

Highlights include Angel De La Frontera, which pounds you into the dust with its heavyweight riffage and fierce, gutsy chorus, and No Aceptan Imitaciones, a mighty detonation of filthy grindcore. Plus, you also have the excellent Culpan La Mujer, an ugly crossbreed of US hardcore and punchy, steel-plated metal that will tear your face off given half the chance, and Satongo, a razor sharp burst of Mexi-crust. They’re just for starters.

Given the current US political climate, Brujeria have probably come back at just the right moment… let’s hope they don’t leave it as long next time.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 7/10 Narcocore