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Brujeria Carves Up London With Venomous Concept And Aggression

Much has been made of Brujeria over the years. Do they really believe their lyrics? Are they really Satanists? Are they really Mexican? The answers to all of these are irrelevant when you consider the main one; Are they any good? The answer is a resounding yes, especially in the live environment, where their cartel inspired brand of deathgrind gets shoved right in the ears of all in attendance, whether they wanted it or not. With ear sodomy in mind then, the band recently embarked on a headlining tour of Europe to promote their latest single, "Amaricon Czar," joined by friends Venomous Concept, Canadian thrash metal stalwarts Aggression and Californian veterans Sangre.

Opening the evening's proceedings was Pomona's own, Sangre. Having released their first album, "Carrion" in 2001, with a sophomore full length arriving ten years later, maybe the band are now gearing up to release a third in two years. The music itself is very heavy and very abrasive, something of a drooling rottweiler snapping at the faces of those polite enough to attend early enough to catch them. Their sound isn't for everyone and it's not in the running for any prizes for originality, but for those of you who like their metal a little groovy and supremely vicious, Sangre are well worth checking out.

Following Sangre, originally from Montreal, now based out of Vancouver, it was the turn of Maple thrashing mad Aggression, performing their first show in the United Kingdom since forming in 1985. While their name may not immediately spring to mind when discussing thrash metal legends, the band still lives up to their name, displaying a confrontational brand of thrash, which nowadays some might say leans towards death metal, wrapped up in punk rock attitude. For old school fans wondering, guitarist Denis "Sasquatch" Barthe is the only original member remaining but those he's recruited more than live up to the task of not only creating stellar new material, but keeping the name and legacy of Aggression alive. Solid band with a memorable live presence and youthful thirst.

The legend goes that whilst drinking together either Brutal Truth vocalist Kevin Sharp or Napalm Death bassist Shane Embury asked the other, "Hey, how come we've never been in a band together?" and that question was all it took for the two to create Venomous Concept, one of the most highly charged and all round fun hardcore/grindcore bands going today. With a new album on the horizon, it was as important as it was exciting for them to be on such a tour and while there may be a few here who weren't familiar with the band, the quartet did their upmost to ensure everyone there would remember them.

Venomous Concept are, as much as anything, a celebration of stupidity and the good times that come with being in a band, summed up by their mascot Ook. Kevin Sharp seems to be having a blast on stage and so was everyone in the crowd. Performing material from across their three albums, "Retroactive Abortion," "Poisoned Apple" and "Kick Me Silly - VCIII," the group were on tremendous form throughout. There were smiles on the faces of everyone on stage as well as off and there's sure to be a growing number of people eagerly awaiting the fourth album with every stop on the tour.

Finally, we come to the marquee act, the machete wielding, Trump bashing, Spanish speaking extreme metal masters known as Brujeria. Brujeria has a strong back catalogue to rest on, releasing three full length albums from 1993 to 2000, before adding the excellent "Pocho Aztlan" to the list in 2016 and fans were treated to material from all of these records, as well the aforementioned single, "Amaricon Czar" and its b-side, "Lord Nazi Ruso." Staples like "Colas de Rata," "La Migra" and of course, "Matando Gueros" were unleashed on the audience, many of which doing their best to sing along in what Spanish they knew.

What makes Brujeria such a great live act is the hybrid, almost contradictory combination of attitudes, spewing absolute venom at political and media figures such as Donald Trump and Pete Wilson, while maintaining the vibe that a gig is all about enjoying oneself, frequently joking around and encouraging crowd participation in a way which doesn't come across as dumb or patronising, like so many other bands and the tired, "Are you ready to party?" or "Come on motherfuckers!" lines that are ready for the nursing home by now. You may not like what Brujeria have to say, or even their music, but I urge everyone reading this to see them live when you get the chance, because the method in which Juan Brujo and his compadres deliver their manifesto is truly unforgettable.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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