May 052014

I have mixed feelings about Cinco de Mayo. I grew up in central Texas, and celebrated the date every year after a certain point. On the other hand, the certain point was when I reached drinking age, which was the age at which my friends and I could convince winos to buy us tequila at liquor stores. That became a road to misery.

My first exposure to tequila was at age 16 on a high school Spanish Club trip to Monterrey. One of my buds, who was fluent in Spanish without having to be taught, evaded the teachers by climbing out a hotel window and down a fire escape on our first afternoon there, returning with a couple of bottles. That night I never made it out of the bus that took our teachers and us to some restaurant. I said I was sick, and that was no fuckin’ lie.

Even now, all it takes is the smell of straight tequila to bring on a wave of nausea. Doesn’t mean I’ve given up on it (there have been many subsequent tequila poisoning experiences in the many years since that Monterrey trip), but these days I prefer to take my poison in a margarita. Goes down easier, though a high percentage of the time I still wind up crouched over a toilet begging for mercy.

But I don’t mean to suggest that Cinco de Mayo is nothing more than a chance to get shit-faced. There’s rich history behind the date as well, but in my mind it’s also an excuse to revisit some Mexican metal. That’s another form of poison I can’t seem to resist. Continue reading »

Nov 182013

Sol Negro’s Dawn of A New Sun is an absolute gem. Originally released in a limited edition of cassette tapes last year, it’s about to get the full-fledged distribution it deserves via the excellent Mexico-based label Chaos Records. Today we’re giving you a taste of the album by premiering the record’s final track, “Where Flies the Raven”. But first, here are some impressions about Dawn of A New Sun as a whole.

Attempting to categorize the album in genre terms is a challenge. The music is remarkably dynamic, with different songs emphasizing different aspects of what turns out to be Sol Negro’s own very distinctive sound. At different moments I thought of bands such as Obscura and Death (at their most progressively inclined), though shrouded in a mantle of black metal and doom. But as it happens, the reference that may come closest to capturing the band’s core motif lies in the one cover song on the album: “Dead Emotion” by Paradise Lost, a brilliant song from the band’s second album Gothic (1991), which Sol Negro perform brilliantly.

And if all these diverse band references confuse you, trust me when I say that the music is masterfully cohesive. Sol Negro unite elements of doom, progressive death, and black metal to create a genuine feast for the ears. Continue reading »