Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Peruvian Metal Scene
Recently Peru, which used to have a lot more rock and metal on it's airwaves a decade ago, played host to an event called "Dia Del Rock Peru." (Day of Rock) It took place on January 7th in Lima and in other satellite cities such as Arequipa. It was a way for the rock community to say "we exist" to all of the media and corporate broadcast venues. Nine bands of diverse styles played in downtown Lima from 4:00 until 10:00 p.m., giving exposure to those artists and the creative collective. You can see footage of the event here. Dia Del Rock might have started just on that day, but it was a blueprint of shows and events to come in the ensuing months. Paco Holguin from the band Emergency Blanket had originally come up with the idea on his Facebook page and it spread like wildfire. Then three promoters came together - Ivan Fajardo, Wayo Aguayo and Eduardo Quezada - who compiled a chain of events that would link together indie labels, stations, magazines and corporations. This show on the 7th was the start of more concerts, and you can learn more about upcoming shows by visiting the official Facebook page of Dia Del Rock Peru.
Of course, Peru is a very large country and only a fraction of it's large pool of bands will perform at events like this. The first band that we present today played at this event, while the other two take the more traditional underground approach of playing the clubs and gaining visibility through tours. The more alternative the genre of metal a band plays, the harder it might be to hook up with a high visibility event. The three bands that we will unearth today have vastly different interpretations of the metal style and different methods of diffusing their music to their respective fan bases.
Mauser has been a popular installment in the Lima rock/metal scene. They went on second at the Dia Del Rock event, and opened with guitarist Cesar Gonzales playing the Peruvian national anthem on his fret. Mauser have a very polished heavy style of rock/metal, sometimes reminiscent of King's X in the vocal harmony department. But, they have a predicament. Labels tend to shun them, since they aren't black, death or another super underground genre. Rock metal gets overlooked by indie labels, especially since an American label might not know how to approach an accessible band that sings in Spanish. Mauser started in 2006, but really got things rolling a couple of years ago with it's self-titled debut. Check out a few songs from the band below.
When Gustavo Bermudez and Cesar Moran started this band in 1989, they initially called themselves Satan Claus but decided to change it to Necropsya. These thrashers released "Slaves to the Magic" in '93, took a break and came back in 2001. Then they went on tour as the opening act for Kreator and Destruction on the 2002 "Hell Comes to South America" tour. 2008 saw their second release, "Devastated by Time," on Icarus Music. This album opened doors for them and made it possible for Necropsya to open for Metallica on the 2010 "Death Magnetic" tour. They played in front of 50,000 people at the San Marcos stadium in Lima. Necropsya's third CD, "Made with Evil," was released that year and spawned some official videos, which follow below. This year Necropsya will be busy opening for Hirax and U.D.O. when they tour South America.
Formed in Lima in 2001, Reino Ermitano (Hermit Kingdom in English) is described by it's female vocalist Tania Duarte as "living outside the rules and confines of modern society; a fortress of isolation and solitude." Reino Ermitano plays witchy doom music influenced by Pentagram, Tull, St. Vitus, Budgie and a whole host of other Peruvian doom bands. After it's self-titled debut, Reino Ermitano put out the strong native/folksy second release "Brujas del Mar." Just recently they unleashed their third one, "Rituales Interiores," on I Hate Records. Reino Ermitano's focus is to create earthy, organic sounds redolent in Santerian mysticism.
Whether getting exposure through large events and festivals or laboring through the club circuit, there is a wide range of music to be discovered in Peru. Join us again next week when we unearth more metal bands in another scene or genre.
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