|South America does not seem to have a huge voice in the international stoner/doom community, which at this point seems to be largely dominated by Europe and North America, and Australia and Japan to a lesser extent. My knowledge of South American heavies is far from exhaustive, but off the top of my head all I can think of is Natas, Dragonauta, and Buffalo from Argentina. Yeah yeah, some of you may be thinking of Sepultura as well, but lets leave them out of this for now.|
Now we can add another excellent band to that short list: Reino Ermitaņo, from Lima, Peru. My knowledge of Spanish is far from perfect, but something tells me that these folks could school the rest of us about musical genres and underground music history. For one thing, I heard about the band from my old pal Federico Wolman of Dragonauta, whose knowledge is extensive and whose taste is impeccable. So I figured right away that Reino Ermitaņo (translating to 'Hermit Kingdom') was something special.
Well, few discs in recent memory have combined such a killer doom groove with a broad stylistic palette to such good effect, but this is definitely one of them. The band is led by Tania Duarte's clean, often double-tracked vocals, which often lend a radio-friendly ambience to the proceedings. This is subverted by the thick, warm, doomed-out underground guitar n' bass, which in rather traditional style, make sure that this music is unlikely to ever be heard on most radio stations. Heavy. "Naka" Almeida's drums are agile and effective, though sometimes mixed just a bit too far back. There are a number of other instruments involved that lend color and variety to the music, without ever turning it into one of those trendy - and boring - efforts at "world music." Screw that crap, let's doom!
Tracks like 'El Ensonador' and 'Melquiades' shout DOOM, but always with a twist. 'Bierro, el Morbido' is reminiscent of Acid King, not least because the vocals kinda sorta resemble our dear Lori S. 'Bardo' and 'Dansa de las Brujas' are unexpected forays into Renaissance-inspired acoustic territory, while 'Fortaleza' has moments of folky beauty slamming into a Latin-influenced metal fest. The songs are not all perfect by any means, but the writing quality is consistently high. It’s hard to nail the whole thing, but there's everything here from Hellhound-label depression to 90s underground hard rock to pop to prog to straight metal to Renaissance madrigals to folk, with lots of epic moments of drama, all wrapped up and stamped "DOOM."
Now don't tell me that the Spanish lyrics are going to get in the way, because that’s the kind of culture-bound thinking that keeps all good rockers from hearing the likes of Abramis Brama and, yes, Dragonauta. Besides, they DON'T get in the way. I for one can't wait to hear the next effort by people who so obviously care about their craft.
Band contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. El Ensonador
2. Las Hadas
3. Espacio Interior
5. Birro, el Morbido
8. Profundidad de las Sombras
9. Celda del Dolor
10. Danza de las Brujas
12. La Mariposa
13. Danza de las Brujas II
Duration : Approx. 56 minutes.
Visit the Reino Ermitaņo bandpage.