March 11, 2020

Brujeria - Brujerizmo (2000)

Country: Mexico
Language: Spanish (Espa├▒ol)
Genre: Death Metal, Groove Metal
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© 2000 Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Ollie Appleby for Drowned In Sound.com
Slipknot are masked because they're individuals, the masks display what they are as a display of their identity to everyone. Brujeria are masked to hide their identities, in a direct link to the Mexican bandits, street dealers and revolutionaries that they're representing. They hide their faces because they're everyone, Slipknot empower themselves, leading by example, Brujeria empower everyone with their self styled 'Mexican murder-metal' invoking mass leadership, mass representation, mass consciousness.
You'll be forgiven for having not heard about them, their refusal to sing in anything other than (Mexican) Spanish might be a self imposed limitation, but it's helped make them one of the biggest Central/South American bands ever, even with (rumoured) members of Faith No More, Fear Factory and Napalm Death and over of a decade together, they still receive little to no international coverage or (legal) distributation other than a link to the US Roadrunner label...
This, their y2k released album 'Brujerizmo' - literally 'Witchcraft' or 'Black Magick' - brings together the members of the Brujeria clan once more for a punishing 13 tracks of political activism, celebration of Latin America and attacks on staid social and religious conventions. All are delivered by the tequila and cigar created growl of Juan Brujo - 'John Witch' - and guitar burns of Asesino - 'Assassin' - along with no less than 3 bass players. Heavy stuff.
Taking a stand in the guise of Mexico's top assassins, drug dealers and revolutionaries, the 7 leading Brujo use a mix of political and Satanistic rallying cries to attack everything, from Castro and his Cuban paradise in the very un-Manics 'Anti-Castro' to the Catholic Church, comparing it AIDS, weakening society and leaving the underclasses open to attack and exploitation in 'Sida De La Mente' - 'AIDS of the Mind' - and title track 'Brujerizmo' This leaves their most overt political posturing set for 'Division Del Norte' - 'Northern Division' - calling on the people to again rise in revolution with the (Rage Against The Machine supported) Zapatismo movement, whose world famous leader SubCommandante Marcos adopted their t-shirts as his standard issue clothing along with his military camouflage fatigues.
While they claim to be murderers, gangsters and satanists, the anti-alcohol and drug related tracks relate their true feelings on the subject, overindulgence is shown as killing the Mexican people, and this being told by a group of alleged assassins and scum makes it all the more effective, they're not preaching to the kids, just telling their truth straight. Even the daemon summoning 'Pititis, Te Invoco' helps with this, strengthening their image as (literally) hellraisers, masters of their own fate, masculine and Mexican, political and dangerous, the ultimate role models for the dispossessed Disney fed youth of the country to idolise. Behind their balaclavas and bandannas are the faces of every one of their fans.
Using the imagery of the Brujerizmo shamanic/magickal tradition (claimed to be over 12,000 years old) mixed in with the modern language of revolution and social underclasses, all set to a heavy, heavy industrial (murder) metal assault provides a voice for the downtrodden and forgotten, in an age where many Mexicans want nothing more than a hourly wage in America and to learn English, Brujeria give them a product of their own culture. Forsaking the trappings of rock stars that they (possibly) are, the band style themselves after the folk heroes and daemons of the masses, not after their own selfish desires for recognition, they return to their language and place of birth to remind the people that just sometimes there is an alternative to US mass media.
And they're getting ready to return for another shot soon...

tags: brujeria, brujerizmo, 2000, flac,