Impureza – La Caída De Tonatiuh – Album Review

livret_classique_4_pages

Artist: Impureza

Album Title: La Caída De Tonatiuh

Label: Season of Mist

Date Of Release: 10 November 2017

I’m willing to bet that a genre collaboration between extreme death metal and classic Hispanic music would not be top of many people’s ‘most likely to hear’ list. Indeed, even if it was, I suspect that few would give it a chance of actually working as an idea. But why not? The likes of Nile have been blending death metal with Egyptian and Middle East themes with great success over the years. And there are plenty of bands out there willing to try a lot of things in an effort to offer listeners something different in a day-and-age when originality is proving ever trickier.

With that in mind, I present to you Impureza, a band that does just that: delivers a brutal slab of uncompromising death metal, flavoured liberally with traditional Spanish music influences. They have been labelled in some quarters as ‘French Nile’ and I suppose to some degree, this basic definition does help to inform prospective listeners about what they might hear from Impureza. In the accompanying press release, the likes of Morbid Angel, Behemoth and Paco De Lucia are also referenced as influences, to help further define this band’s output.

The ‘French Nile’ comment won’t have escaped your notice, especially given Impureza’s fondness for music more of Spanish origin. In actuality, the term ‘French/Spanish Nile’ would probably be more accurate given that the quintet is comprised of three French musicians and two Spanish. After significant line-up difficulties, the five who have come together to bring us the sophomore release, ‘La Caída De Tonatiuh’, are vocalist Esteban Martin, guitarists Lionel Cano Muñoz (including Spanish) and Oliver Hanoulle, bassist Florian Saillard and drummer Guilhem Auge.

What I like very much about this previously-unknown band is the way in which the two disparate styles of music have been combined. It would have been very easy to favour one over the other or to make the transitions clunky and lazily blended. Instead, I find myself genuinely impressed with how natural and smooth it all sounds. Impureza have combined the elements together in such a way as to make me think ‘why has this not been done before?’ Or, more accurately, ‘why has this never been done so well before?’

In answering my own rhetorical question, I believe that much of it has to do with ability. With Impureza, each member is clearly very adept but in particular, you have a guitarist in Lionel Cano Muñoz who is extremely talented with the Spanish guitar. I’m sure many guitarists much better than I will be able to confirm that playing this style is much different to what we’d refer to as ‘normal’ heavy metal guitar playing. And yet, he can do both, with apparent ease and with an obvious confidence that comes through in his performances throughout the record.

Then there’s the songwriting ability of the band as a whole. With death metal, it can be easy to get into the mindset of simply bludgeoning the listener into submission; either playing as fast as possible or as heavily and intensely as possible. It can lead, in my opinion, to a listening experience which is gratifying at first but which can quickly descend into monotony. If each song pretty much sounds the same, it can get a little boring. That’s not the case with ‘La Caída De Tonatiuh’, as by-and-large, each composition has its own identity and can be discerned on its own merits. After a single cursory spin, that might not seem to be the case, but stick with it and you’ll see what I mean.

19113700_10158755354155368_9051203956648012869_n

Returning to my point about the smoothness of the material, a big string to the Impureza bow is the way in which the Spanish elements are also cleverly incorporated into some of the more extreme songs as well as being stand-alone tracks too. Take the fabulous ‘El Nuevo Reino De Los Ahorcados’. It begins atmospherically with the Spanish guitar and clean vocals in the background that I presume are being sung in Spanish. And then, out of nowhere, the song explodes. But it does so in such a way that the atmospheres and melodies that featured in the intro are not lost and they continue throughout, gasping for air within the torrent of bruising riffs, growled vocals and blastbeats.

Littered within the brutality are several quieter tracks that allow the Spanish content to flourish. The opener, ‘Lamentos De Un Condenado’ starts off in unsettling fashion before the Spanish guitar takes over, supported by some expressive fretless bass playing from Florian Saillard. ‘El Dorado’ is a very brief 55 second interlude whilst ‘Corazón Al Cielo (Homenaje A Paco De Lucía)’ isn’t much longer. And yet they, amongst others, add to the atmosphere and the flavour of the album perfectly, whilst being

And crucially for a death metal record, the intensity and power remains fully intact and extremely potent. ‘Sangre Para Los Dioses’ wastes absolutely no time in pummelling the listener into an early submission. Blastbeats, pinched harmonics, lightning fast lead guitar runs and malevolent growls create a hugely impressive, yet controlled tumult into which the Spanish influence is delicately weaved, along with a smattering of subtle melody and some very occasional clean vocals.

‘Camino Hacia Mictlán’, on the other hand, injects some bold melody into the ferocity as well as some crackling groove, whereas ‘Otumba, 1520’ is the most Nile-sounding track on the album thanks to some unbelievably dextrous musicianship, where the bass really stands out within a plethora of superb individual performances. Then there’s the dark and wonderfully sinister ‘Leyenda Negra’

As I hope you can tell, I’ve become a genuine convert to the Impureza cause. Everything about ‘La Caída De Tonatiuh’ is just about spot on. The result is a breathless and thoroughly engrossing death metal album. The fact that Impureza so expertly offer something that little bit different into their final product makes them a force to be reckoned with. If this is only their second album, released after line-up instability, the mind boggles as to what will follow if they manage to maintain some consistency over the next year or so. This comes highly recommended.

The Score Of Much Metal: 8.75

If you’ve enjoyed this review, you can check out my others from previous years and for 2017 right here:

2015 reviews
2016 reviews

Auđn – Farvegir Fyrndar
Beast In Black – Berserker
Serenity – Lionheart
Sorcerer – The Crowning of the Fire King
Daydream XI – The Circus of the Tattered and Torn
CyHra – Letters To Myself
Devoid – Cup of Tears
Ne Obliviscaris – Urn
Sons Of Apollo – Psychotic Symphony
Enslaved – E
Samael – Hegemony
Vuur – In This Moment We Are Free – Cities
Power Quest – Sixth Dimension
Iris Divine – The Static And The Noise
Daniel Cavanagh – Monochrome
White Moth Black Butterfly – Atone
Jag Panzer – The Deviant Chord
Vulture Industries – Stranger Times
Anubis Gate – Covered In Black
Protean Collective – Collapse
Cradle Of Filth – Cryproriana – The Seductiveness of Decay
TDW & Dreamwalkers Inc. – The Antithetic Affiliation
Caligula’s Horse – In Contact
Nocturnal Rites – Phoenix
Arch Enemy – Will To Power
Threshold – Legends Of The Shires
H.E.A.T – Into The Great Unknown
Dyscarnate – With All Their Might
Subterranean Masquerade – Vagabond
Adagio – Life
Paradise Lost – Medusa
The Haunted – Strength In Numbers
Serious Black – Magic
Leprous – Malina
The Lurking Fear – Out of the Voiceless Grave
Prospekt – The Illuminated Sky
Wintersun – The Forest Seasons
Witherfall – Nocturnes And Requiems
Tuesday The Sky – Drift
Anthriel – Transcendence
Decapitated – Anticult
Cosmograf – The Hay-Man Dreams
Orden Ogan – Gunmen
Iced Earth – Incorruptible
Anathema – The Optimist
Solstafir – Berdreyminn
Dream Evil – Six
Avatarium – Hurricanes And Halos
Ayreon – The Source
Until Rain – Inure
MindMaze – Resolve
God Dethroned – The World Ablaze
Bjorn Riis – Forever Comes To An End
Voyager – Ghost Mile
Big Big Train – Grimspound
Lonely Robot – The Big Dream
Firespawn – The Reprobate
Ancient Ascendant
Pyramaze – Contingent
Shores Of Null – Black Drapes For Tomorrow
Asira – Efference
Hologram Earth – Black Cell Program
Damnations Day – A World Awakens
Memoriam – For The Fallen
Pallbearer – Heartless
Sleepmakeswaves – Made of Breath Only
Ghost Ship Octavius – Ghost Ship Octavius
Vangough – Warpaint
Telepathy – Tempest
Obituary – Obituary
Fen – Winter
Havok – Conformicide
Wolfheart – Tyhjyys
Svart Crown – Abreaction
Nova Collective – The Further Side
Immolation – Atonement
The Mute Gods – Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth
Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars
Pyogenesis – A Kingdom To Disappear
My Soliloquy – Engines of Gravity
Nailed To Obscurity – King Delusion
Helion Prime – Helion Prime
Battle Beast – Bringer Of Pain
Persefone – Aathma
Soen – Lykaia
Exquirla – Para Quienes Aun Viven
Odd Logic – Effigy
Mors Principium Est – Embers Of A Dying World
Firewind – Immortals
Slyde – Back Again EP
Sepultura – Machine Messiah
Deserted Fear – Dead Shores Rising
Kreator – Gods Of Violence
Borealis – World of Silence MMXVII
Pain of Salvation – In The Passing Light of Day

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s