Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Salvadorean Metal Scene
When looking at the El Salvador metal scene, it is shocking coming to the realization that a country this small has close to ninety metal bands. Two of the ones I have unearthed today are not even in the Encyclopaedia Metallum archives, which shows how fast the scene is still growing. El Salvador has only a few dozen less bands than its significantly larger neighbor a couple of countries over, Costa Rica.
One of the first nationally renowned Salvadorean metal bands was B'rock (later known as Broncco). B'rocks polished power metal sound laid the foundation for future generations of metal bands in El Salvador. The group disbanded in 1996 due to founder Vicente "Chente" Sibrian's degenerative illness, but he is viewed as a godfather in the scene still. He recently appeared at the Maaskab Open Air and other festivals in his wheelchair, to the chants of all the concert goers. Watch a video montage done in homage for Sibrian to the Broncco track "Vendedor de Suenos" by going here.
The main reason El Salvador did not start rising to prominence in the metal scene until the late nineties was the country's civil war. There was a lot of repression and fighting between the left and right factions and serious curtailment of artistic liberties. A Salvadorean friend of mine, whose family was very politically active with the rebels, had his house riddled with bullets several times plus had a car bomb go off too. The U.N. brokered peace agreement in the nineties seemed to end some of that strife, and the Salvadorean people started expressing themselves more freely.
Besides B'rock and Renegade in the eighties, the metal scene didn't truly take off until the late nineties. With it brought the rise of several bands such as Metatron, Raices Torcidas and Disorder - to name a few. These days with the globalization of metal, El Salvador plays host to some really big events. Craneo Metal's Central American Wacken Open Air Battle was just in El Salvador on March 18th, one of five latin american stops. Five different countries had one band represent each of them, and Arana occupied the spot for El Salvador. Today we will take a look at the aforementioned band Arana and two others as we delve into the Salvadorean scene, showing how far this country has come.
Araña is a San Salvador band that came to prominence when playing at the Bloodstock festival in 2007. Finally, in 2011, Arana released its full-length "Teotl," which the band describes as tribal metal. Araña takes elements of thrash and latino ancestral folk rock and blends them into a catchy groove metal style. Recently Araña substituted for Raices Torcidas at the Craneo Metal Wacken Battle in the capital city, bringing this band to national prominence in the metal scene. Listen to a few of Araña's songs below, including its official video.
Heresies used to be a cover band by the name of Strangers, doing tribute tracks to the big names of metal. Then in 2010, they changed the name of the band to Heresies and started putting out thrash/death metal. They are fronted by female vocalist Olga Castro. Their debut concert was at La Luna Casa y Arte in September of that year. Later, Heresies played at the significant Salvadorean shows Rock & Toys, Maaskab Open Air and Metal Assault. Check out a couple of tracks from their new one, "Awaking the Madness," below.
Another San Salvador band is Symbolic, who released its first album "Utopia" in 2003 shortly after its demo releases "Across the Fire" and "State of Mind." It's next release was the six-song split with Dreamlore titled "Artificial Acts of Madness" in 2006. The "Massive Destruction" single followed in 2009, as did the band's first official video for "Decreased Humanity" a year earlier. In 2011, Symbolic put out its second full-length "Portraits of Chaos," which features nine songs. Below are a few tracks from Symbolic.
The latin americans love their metal, as is highly evident when looking at the scene in El Salvador. Listen to a few of the bands we unearthed for you today and check out this scene rich in metal bands. And to think, this is only a handful of the vast number of groups that this country has to offer. Join us again next week when we unearth another scene or genre in the metal underground.
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