De La Tierra (Advance Album Review)

[Originally published at www.jasonkorolenko.com on January 11, 2013]

de la tierra cover“We wanna be the Rammstein of the Spanish language” - Andreas Kisser on De La Tierra, 4.18.13

And like Rammstein, if you stripped away the vocals from De La Tierra’s killer debut album, you wouldn’t be able to pinpoint from which country its members hail. Still, the tag “Latin American Supergroup”—consisting of members from D-Mente, Sepultura, Fabulosos Cadillacs, and Maná—will follow them wherever they go.

And rightly so.

The rhythm section on much of De La Tierra is where the “Latin American” vibe truly becomes evident, a massive aural monster locked down by bassist Sr. Flavio and drummer Alex González. That visceral pull which grabs you, forces your body to move, oozes from this record.

Make no mistake: De La Tierra is modern, catchy, and heavy as hell. But the Latino vibe here isn’t forced or calculated. It’s in the blood of these guys, and it flows just as naturally through the veins of their music.

The ominous, minor-key melodies of “D.L.T. - Intro” sound almost as if they could have appeared on Andreas Kisser’s 2009 solo album Hubris. Kisser’s fingerprints are all over De La Tierra, actually, even though the band had been together as a trio for quite a while before he’d joined. Yet it is clear from the following track, “Somos Uno” (tellingly translated to “We Are One”), DLT is a true band, not merely an all-star project. Andres Giménez’s vocals are perfectly nasty in the verses, mimicking the groove of a slinky percussive riff, and shining during irresistible choruses somewhat reminiscent of Sevendust. This furious approach works equally well in both heavy and melodic doses.

The album’s first overt Latin beats introduce the volatile “San Asesino,” and Kisser makes his first vocal contributions to DLT here, too, spitting pre-chorus lyrics in what is easily one of the angriest tracks of the bunch. Again seeing swapped vocal lines between Andreas and Andres, “Chaman de Manaus” features a breakdown distinctly reminiscent of Sepultura when they’re feeling particularly Brazilian. Cuban rhythms pop up in “Corran,” which—along with leadoff single “Maldita Historia”—shines an all-too-brief spotlight on Sr. Flavio’s funky slap bass technique. That aggressive style of playing is evident throughout the whole of De La Tierra in fact, bringing memories of old-school Suicidal Tendencies to mind. Flavio proudly wears the influence on his blue bandanna and S.T. cap (modified to read SrF.), and even occasionally tips that hat to Primus, as heard at the beginning of “Reducidores de Cabezas.”

Alongside the stomp-worthy riffs of “Rostros” and “Detonar,” the upbeat and bouncy “Fuera,” absolutely genius bass work has been laid down. And if there were any Maná fans who speculated whether González was the right fit for a metal band, one listen to album closer “Cosmonauta Quechua,” where the drummer channels Anthrax’s Charlie Benante, will put those doubts to bed.

De La Tierra is one of those albums that reveals more and more of itself to the listener with each spin. Not only is this a testament to the depth of the music and talents of the band members themselves, but also the stellar engineering of long-time Sepultura collaborator Stanley Soares.

Nearly a year ago, reporting from the studio while recording the album, Andreas Kisser said, “We’re gonna really build this to something even stronger than what we’re hearing today, which is already awesome. We are finding ourselves now. This has a lot of room to get much better.”

That’s a scary thought—in the most wonderful way—considering how strong the debut effort is.

De La Tierra hits the streets on January 14, 2014 through Warner Latin and Roadrunner Records.

Check out the full Andreas Kisser interview.

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