Dec 032011

I found out about the band featured in this post about a week ago, thanks to two, almost simultaneous messages from NCS reader Utmu and NCS writer TheMadIsraeli, both of whom seem to have an ear for metal that pushes my buttons. Impureza immediately pushed two of them: Their music incorporates both traditional “ethnic” influences and instruments that are rarely found in metal — in this case flamenco — and the cover to their most recent album, La Iglesia Del Odio (“the church of hate”), is a real eye-catcher (it was created by Johann Bodin).

The band are currently based in Orléans, France, and they actually appear to be Frenchmen instead of transplanted Spaniards, as one would expect from the music. Following a series of demos and splits, they released their debut album in April 2010 — the aforementioned La Iglesia Del Odio — on a French label called Snakebite Productions, from which the album can still be acquired in CD form.

Now, despite the abstract attraction (at least to me) of a death metal band who incorporate flamenco music into their sound, and despite the fact that they were deemed worthy of a spot at HELLFEST 2011, I did have to wonder whether this might turn out to be nothing more than a gimmick, a passing curiosity, a novelty without substance, and I also wondered how flamenco and death metal would sound in combination.

The answer: Impureza sounds brilliant, particularly if you’re a fan of technical death metal in the vein of Nile, Krisiun, Decapitated, or Fleshgod Apocalypse, and the distinctive flamenco cadences and melodies are no gimmick: They’re integral to this music, and they give it a fascinating, distinctive flair.

Flamenco music, song, and dance are fiery and passionate. In fact, some people think the word “flamenco” evolved from the Spanish word “flama”, which means flame or fire. One of the reasons it melds so well with Impureza’s brand of death metal is because their performances are absolutely blistering.

The flamenco influence is evident from the first seconds of the first song — “El Gitano Maldito” – as the distinctive rhythms performed on an acoustic guitar play in tandem with some heavy-ass death metal riffage before the song explodes in a burst of head-cleaving force and jet-powered speed. The acoustic flamenco music returns again briefly in this opening track, just as it appears in interludes or as accents in every other song, providing this pile-driving machinery an unusual, exotic air.

Impureza delivers power and dextrous speed — music that’s a skull-slamming rush of catchy riffs, writhing guitar leads, and jaw-dropping drum barrages — but they keep the listener off-balance with rhythms that unpredictably stop, start, and stutter in an off-kilter lurch, with wonderfully dynamic tempos and intriguing flights of progressive death metal dissonance (check out “Y Corre la Sangre” or the long, slower-paced closing track, “El Desierto de la Creencia” for great examples of the latter).

Yet the flamenco music is never far away, and its role is not limited to acoustic intros and interludes. Those unusual rhythms and melodies appear to greater or lesser degrees throughout the album, even in the massive, down-tuned, electrified riffing in songs such as “Besar La Mano del Infame”. (Flamenco guitarist Lionelito plays not only the acoustic guitar but also electric guitar along with second guitarist Rafael, who also plays the castanets.)

In keeping with the Andalusian flavor of the sound, bass-player Lamas sings in Spanish — or more accurately, he voices the lyrics in Spanish, using a throaty, gravelly bark that’s full of fiery passion but also downright demonic.

From start to finish, La Iglesia Del Odio is a supercharged kick in the head, a flamenco-inflected rarity that’s really impressive. Here are two songs for you to check out, and you can also stream the entire album by visiting this location.

“El Gitano Maldito”

[audio:http://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/01-El-Gitano-Maldito.mp3|titles=Impureza – El Gitano Maldito]

“Besar La Mano del Infame”

[audio:http://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/04-Besar-la-Mano-del-Infame.mp3|titles=Impureza – Besar la Mano del Infame]

To dig deeper into Impureza, check their Facebook page here or their MySpace page here. If you’re interested in the album as a download, both iTunes and Amazon are carrying it.

19 Responses to “FLAMENCO METAL: IMPUREZA”

  1. Phro Babies says:

    Slinky pancakes! Amazing!

    They shoulda done the once upon a time in Mexico soundtrack.

    Also, slinky squids’ slathered, slimey, slurpee slits!

    • Islander says:

      I’ve received an e-mail from The Slinky Pancakes and they are complaining that you’re violating a copyright by using their name without permission. I’ve told them that I don’t know who you are, but I’ve offered them a spot on the next NCS tour if they’ll stop writing me.

      Please don’t say slurpy slits again.

  2. Hamish says:

    This is awesome, just starting my 5th listen on the trot, thanks for the review!

    • Islander says:

      Cool. Glad you liked them. I’m still scratching my head about how an album this good could have been out in the world for a year and a half and yet eluded me until a week ago.

  3. Lamas says:

    hey dudes!!!thanks for this review.we’re actually preparing our second opus for next spring.Check it out!

  4. Trollfiend says:

    I’ve often said that metal is unique in the music world for being able to seamlessly absorb any other musical genre and make it metal. Here I am vindicated!

  5. groverXIII says:

    Definitely going to check these guys out. In the meantime, for more flamenco metal, here are a few artists you should check out:

    Flametal

    Marc Rizzo, yes, the guy from Soulfly/Ill Nino. His Legionnaire album, specifically.

    And Rizzo’s Committee Of Thirteen project, which I cannot find anywhere on Youtube.

    • Islander says:

      Damn, it’s more of a genre than I realized. The Flametal is tremendous, kind of like flamenco+prog+cool-jazz. The electric guitar and bass and drum solos in that song are so sweet, in addition to the flamenco of course. Marc Rizzo’s instrumental work on “Bandidas” is a real eye-opener, too. I had no idea . . . just . . . wow.

  6. skin-bridge says:

    This is an awesome band, kinda reminds me of a band called Flesh-Nile-Remains, i am going to have to pick this one up, hey just found you guys website the other day, I love it, the song clips and you-tube videos are vital in discovering New Metal, i hate going to a new bands myspace waiting for the song to buffer and load, just to find the band to be nothing that i dig, thanks dudes!!

    • Islander says:

      Welcome to our humble site. Glad you like what you’re finding. And “Flesh-Nile-Remains” is not a bad name for this, but with an “-enco” on the end. 🙂

  7. KevinP says:

    Just started listening to this and sounds good enough for me to check out further. Damn, there are just too many bands around these days. \m/

  8. KevinP says:

    I’ve listened to about 4 songs so far and just based on gut reaction first impressions, it needs MORE FLAMENCO. sure the brutal death metal parts are fine, but the flamenco gives it better balance than just being “another brutal technical death band”.

    I get that you don’t want to go overboard and have the flamenco wear out it’s welcome. Maybe I’ll not think this is an issue at all after multiple listens. But I would love to hear like a dual layering of heavy guitars and flamenco and the same time, trading off, etc.

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