Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Argentinian Metal Scene
I truly would not doubt it if Argentina has almost as many bands as America does, as it's the second largest country in South America. It's history with the metal genre has some similarities with our own, but yet as one would expect it is vastly divergent from our own annals. To arrive at the huge scene they have today, Argentinians went through many hardships in the beginning and along the way.
Back in the late seventies/early eighties rock bands began to play more metallic sounds to add to the rock stylings of locals Pappo's Blues or V8, but during that era there was plenty of government censorship when it came to music. Heavy metal always bore the brunt of the bad press and some bands were even threatened by the authorities. Some bands like Riff added to their own demise by putting out a year-end party "Riff termina el ano sin cadenas," which broke out into such revery, debauchery and violence that it plagued that band for years and almost sounded the death knell for it.
In the eighties, the rise of such bands as Hermetica and Rata Blanca gave a voice to the beginnings of an emergent power/thrash scene that took off a few years later from the renaissance in Europe and America. Before Carlos Menem's regime, you could only buy locally pressed album versions of the bigger name bands, but the revaluation of the currency and exchange rate opened the floodgates of affordable imports and live appearances of international bands. The nineties then truly shined upon all the underground genres.
This openness hit a number of speed bumps as the economic crisis of 2001 came to unfold. Several large Argentine metal magazines shut down and fewer bands would play live as a result of this. Then in 2004, Argentina had the equivalent of our Station Nightclub fire. The Republica Cromanon concert hall fire broke out after pyrotechnic flares from the group Callejeros caught the insulation on fire. The insulation had been made out of teddy bear stuffing to save money, plus the six exit doors had been chained shut to keep out non-payers. The result was 194 deaths and lengthy prison sentences for both the band and the club owner.
This somber event gave a lot of the population a guarded approach to heavy metal and shows, but by the latter part of the decade there was a resurgence in the underground via the internet. Hundreds of death, thrash, black and folk metal bands started tearing it up once again, showing a resilience and a love for metal. In attempting to scratch the surface today, we will explore three bands from vastly different metal genres that represent the diversity that modern day Argentina has.
The folk scene in Argentina is amazing, having given rise to Tersivel, Dolmen, Tengwar, Arraigo and Triddana from the ashes of Skilltron. You even have the nice folkloric ancestral approach that Yanaconas has. Whereas some bands add more ancestral and pagan touches, or even hints of local samba or tango music, Einher Skald keeps it traditional. They go for the viking vibe and drinking themes, which is to be expected from a band who has opened for Korpiklaani and Amon Amarth. Einher Skald's story begins in 2001 in Buenos Aires, although it took them seven more years to launch their self-titled demo and then the "Drinking in Valhalla" demo in 2010. The following year saw the impressive "Battles at Midgarth" release, and now Einher Skald has numerous events booked. Later this year they will be appearing at the Thorhammer Fest VI in Sao Paolo and the Chaos in Midgarth III in their hometown.
Einher Skald - "Gjallarhorn Trymja" - Battles at Midgarth
Einher Skald - "Drinking in Valhalla" - Battles at Midgarth
Black Vul Destruktor
The extreme side of metal is quite popular all over Argentina, from the northernmost chacos of Jujuy where Infero hails from to the most southern city in the world (Ushuaia) with the now disbanded Hamestagen. While there are several symphonic black metal bands all over, there are far more black metal bands that take the primal approach. The Argentines seem to gravitate more towards earlier 'true' black metal, which is apparent when listening to locals such as Baxaxa, Ulfhathnar or Sartan. Hailing from the Patagonian capital city of Nequen comes the primordial sounding black metal group Black Vul Destruktor. This band has a very tribal and unique sound that is both interesting and distinctly South American. Black Vul Destruktor issued its first demo in 2008 and new EP "Bestial Obscure Metal Kaos" in 2012. That EP was the catalyst to a tour that took the band to Chile, Bolivia, Peru and all over Argentina from March through May.
Black Vul Destruktor - "The Torment of the Illumination" - Bestial Obscure Metal Kaos
Black Vul Destruktor - "Slaves" - Volition + Invocation + Destruction Demo
If this were the seventies or even the eighties, this band would be crucified by the repressive government. Asspera is in a genre all by itself, one which the bands refers to as "bizarre" or "shanty town" (our equivalent of ghetto) metal. As their fans say - "aguante el A" (put up with the A). Asspera blends folkloric rhythms, punk, metal and lighthearted crass themes to create shameless comedic metal on its two albums and EP. Latinos in general have a very good sense of humor, so this band is pretty huge down there. Richar Asspero (vocals) and Rockardo (guitars) created the band to put a smile on people's faces. Besides the integral four members and two bongo drum players, the band has three 'heroes" that appear in its four official videos - the Savage Blond Guy, Trav Zombi and Batman Asspero. In the video "El Hijo de Cuca," Cuca's son has been a very bad boy. He likes to stay out late drinking and dancing, hanging out with cross-dressers and turning tricks in public toilets. Asspera's next big show, "El Ritual del Pueblo," is happening on November 10th at the Estadio Cubierto Malvinas Argentinas.
Asspera - "El Hijo de Cuca" - Hijo de Puta
Asspera - "De Lo Bueno Muy Poco" - Hijo de Puta
Through trials and tribulations, the people of Argentina have maintained a scene that is truly flourishing nowadays because they love their metal - all kinds of metal. There are hundreds of bands we have not covered today, as the scope is so great. Feel free to give us suggestions on other Argentine bands that you feel are deserving of the spotlight. Join us again next week on Monday when we unearth another scene or genre here at Metal Underground.
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