Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Chilean Metal Scene
Chile is a world unto itself, a land of extremes that begins at the harsh Atacama desert to the north and extends thousands of miles to the south in the fjords of Patagonia. The population is of hardy, rugged stock and it's people are as diverse as our own. Within this long country of one time zone, you have all kinds of microcosms and people of diverse ancestry. There are influences from German and Italian lineage and plenty of native and indigenous folk residing amongst the Hispanic populace. And of course, one common thread appears to always transcend boundaries - music. In the case of metal music, Chile has an unbelievable amount of bands in every subgroup imaginable. Black metal bands such as Runepath have put out demos that have gotten recognition on many webzines, and even the ambient new age doom of Uaral has gone viral on YouTube. The majority of people will think of Tom Araya, who recently got the key to a city as a musical emissary, as the most popular Chileno - but delve a little bit deeper and you will find all sorts of bands.
Chile has been thrashing for years, and you can see this as evident when old schoolers such as Vastator regroup are still around putting out videos and even collaborate with Veronica Freeman ("The Gods Give No Reply"). The great thing about the Chilean metal scene as of late is the organization put into it. The Digmetalworld label has put alot of effort into showcasing and streaming countless bands and releases from Chilean and other South American artists. A fan of one band can easily jump and discover music from other groups this way. While you may stream dozens of releases this way and get to know more metal bands, I still find that many will investigate on their own as well. Great blogspots such as Paganvs Info, for those who can read Spanish, also highlight a vast amount of music from the pagan metal scene in Chile and South America. Here on Metal Underground, we have streamed the entire newest releases of such diverse Chilean metal bands as Lefutray, Sacramento and several others. Today we will take a look at a few different styles of metal bands currently active in the Chilean scene.
I like what Folkheim stand for. They have the touch of the common man in their message of popular rights and autonomy for indigenous people. They don't celebrate Columbus Day, because in their words it would be celebrating 519 years of conquistador oppression. They recently bowed out of the Caviahue festival on moral and monetary grounds, and continue to speak their peace on issues such as the funding of the HidroAysen energy project which many deemed environmentally unsound. Hailing from Antofagasta, they play a rich variety of ethnic black folk metal. Folkheim's first EP was 2006's "Pachakuti," which followed their 2004 demo "Touched by Thy Undisturbed Essence." They continue to play shows all over Chile and have an incredible cult following.
Ratzinger has a good solid thrash sound influenced by the Cavalera Conspiracy, Machine Head and Pantera - to name a few. These Santiago natives released their first album in 2008, titled "State Enemy." It's focal point dealt with the concept of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and after releasing that album Ratzinger toured Europe. Two years later, the band put out "2012," which talks of the new age about to unfold in the human race and our Annunaki ancestors as per the countdown of the Mayan calendar.
Warchest are relatively new entrants into the scene, having released their first album "Aftershock" in 2011. Influenced by Testament and Lamb of God, they have a melodic thrash sound. Warchest has already released one official video for the title track from that album, plus they are working on their second official video for the track "Contradiction." Recently they have been playing alot of gigs, including the release party for Fallen Fortress' "Dehumanized" record and the inauguration of the Kataklismo rock bar.
Chilean metal has great variety in what each band individually offers, and is a scene that should be looked into by any fan of metal since there is such a wealth of bands. Join us next week when we unearth more metal bands from a given region or genre.
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