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In heavy metal, there are many historical albums that have been praised and remembered in the subsequent decades, because of their demolishing sound, lyrics and energy. Among the talented musicians in the globe who decided to add more diversity and creativity to their sound, and ended developing a never before heard style, there was Barón Rojo, a band considered (With their countrymen Obús) as the pioneers of 80’s heavy metal.
In their first album Larga vida al rock ‘n’ roll, the band still carried some hard rock influences, and this is an element that was removed in its entirety in what would become their magnum opus Volumen Brutal a bombastic and explosive classic that became the definitive turning point which made Spain experience a massive awakening of heavy metal acts. The album’s sound was exemplary, its riffs were absolutely appealing, and it carried an over the top structure, which was only beaten by Ñu’s first two albums. However, as you can imagine, that’s another part of Spanish metal history.
Volumen Brutal is a dynamic release comparable to Judas Priest’s Screaming for Vengeance, Dio’s Holy Diver Manowar’s Battle Hymns or Quiet Riot’s Metal Health. Why? Simple. Its mystifying content is packed with true anthems from start to finish. Just push play, turn up the volume and listen to the speedy, catchy, and pompous “Incomunicación”, the album’s opener, which is sung by Carlos de Castro. The speed suddenly vanishes in its main chorus, just to fire up again ten seconds later. It’s a brutal and heavy assault of steel to the brain that you won’t be able to stop singing and humming it afterwards. Swiftness is a component that also becomes apparent in “Resistiré”, another fast, outrageous and solid creation of Sherpa and the De Castro brothers, which is performed by the former, and features the amalgamation of primitive power metal with speed metal, in such a blatant, but effective way, that the now defunct band Muro, led by Silver Pérez, would capture the song’s essence in later years and build their sound inside a speed metal basis, fully introducing the genre in Spain. How can’t anyone feel trapped by the song’s memorable chorus? It’s so easy to memorize, it squashes your radio, and all you have to do is scream as loud as you can ”¡Resistiré! ¡Resistiré hasta el fin!”
Four songs represent the “true metal” feeling and vibe with “Concierto para ellos” being the most amazing track of them. It pays homage to rock legends that have already passed away such as Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, John Bonham, and Bon Scott. The song begins with a mysterious keyboard, which gives the song an obscure, yet interesting tint, and then, “Sherpa” surprises us with loud and edgy falsettos, only to be followed by a mid-paced melody that speaks of what any hungry human being who enjoys listening to bands such as Black Sababath, AC/DC, or Marc Bolan’s T.Rex demands: Pure, loud fucking heavy metal! I remember when I listened to this song in the compilation album Larga Vida al Barón by the early 2000’s for the first time. Its downbeat tone, its somehow creepy riffs, and its aggressiveness, left me open-mouthed and until this day, I consider this as the best song in the band’s immense catalogue. It takes little time to feel hundreds of blazes burning your soul, after its thrilling bridge, which leads to an exciting chorus:
”En cada concierto de Rock & Roll.
Las campanas doblan por Bon Scott
por Janis, Lennon, Allman, Hendrix,
Bolan, Bonham, Brian y Moon.
por Janis, Lennon, Allman, Hendrix,
Bolan, Bonham, Brian y Moon...”
To keep moving with the songs that contain the “true” metal lyrical themes, "Satánico Plan” and “Hermano del Rock ‘N’ Roll” are next. These are two beauties with similar tempos, which also hypnotize the listener, and are executed, as well as composed by the De Castro brothers. Both of them carry splendid instrumentation, loudness, distortion and craziness. Although the brothers are very talented songwriters, it seems as if the fans slightly prefer Campuzano’s songs over the rest, since “Los Rockeros van al Infierno” is the band’s most well-known baby, and takes you to a walk quite close to the gates of hell itself. Now, this is the song that identifies Barón Rojo. It’s the ultimate tune that any newbie is forced to listen, before grabbing the rest of the albums. Sherpa did a great job recalling the ideology of every rock rebel in society, so he can raise his fist and yell with a deafening voice ¡Mi rollo es el rock!. It’s the perfect song to piss off your parents. However, and paradoxically, this is also the average track of the album, since its riffs are uncomplicated and easy to follow, but the energy has no end.
“Dame la oportunidad”, a slow song disguised with a powerful sound, is a nice love ballad that helps the band take a breath of air, before going on with the show. And, so, we enter in the next phase of the album, in which Barón Rojo ruthlessly attack (As usual), their government, and the absurd system in where people live in most parts of the world. That’s how “Son como hormigas” steps in and hits you with an almost symphonic guitar riff, just to cool down and advance with its head up high, as the nostalgic rhythms of hard rock that they left behind make a cameo appearance. Meanwhile, “Las Flores del Mal” slows down even more, and it features harmonious sections, which grab you, and take you to a decisive climax, where the melody prevails and blends with a heaviness influenced by the first NWOBHM albums that came out in the 80’s.
As it happens with “Efluvios”, the instrumental song of the band’s first album, Volumen Brutal includes “El Barón vuela sobre Inglaterra”, which is a precisely crafted piece, where the group bond their talent to play the unforgettable Barón Rojo, but in a reflective and melancholic way. It is a perfect way to end this brutal rollercoaster with lots of headbanging moments, where there’s no place for the words “weakness”, “boredom”, or “substandard”.
As good as it may get, it’s also important to keep in mind how innovative Barón Rojo was, since their intuition made them get ahead of many other metal legends that appeared in the years to follow, and boosted the group beyond infinity. Needless to say, and if you have read until now, every song here is a classic, most of them are still played every time they go on tour, and I’ve already had the blessing of watching these guys live.
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how a “dream band” might sound like, but once you listen to this album, the mystery is solved, since the band’s lineup (In those days) fitted with the requirements that were needed. First, there was drummer Hermes Calabria, a devastating mercenary who made love to his instrument like no one, and had refined his technique. José Luis Campuzano, “Sherpa”, is the band’s beloved bassist, who highly contributed with his catchy songs of protest and his peculiar vocals, which made him a remarkable asset. Finally, the De Castro brothers, one of the best inventive guitar duos ever, have always given Barón Rojo an inimitable sound, comparable to the most respected legends that exist.
Volumen Brutal, Baron Rojo’s second full-length album, is, arguably one of the catchiest and most flawless albums ever made. It's so epic that it makes the band worthy of being received with a standing ovation wherever they go.
BARON ROJO – VOLUMEN BRUTAL.
“Volumen Brutal” is Baron Rojo’s most famous and one of their best albums. It was released back in 1982 when traditional metal was the law and of course it sounds like those English traditional metal bands. Cathy melodies, sharp primitive metal/hard rock riffage and a really polished production for 1982 turn “Volumen Brutal” into one of the first Spanish-speaking metal essential releases.
Lots of nice harmonies and solos by the guitar duo composed by the De Castro brothers, some good drum fills and an enjoyable if a bit generic vocal approach make this a worthy primitive speed metal album with a really impressive historical significance.
This album has some really catchy and nifty speed metal numbers like the opener “Incomunicación” which is carried by an orgasmic riff and contains intense dual harmonies. We have the mid-paced anthem “Los Rockeros Van Al Infierno” which deals with the issue of rockers going to hell because they are sinners and it features a godly melodic solo. The balladesque “Dame La Oportunidad” which is a decent track by itself but compared to the rest it seems quite weak. “Son Como Hormigas” is a nice mid-paced melodic hard rock number. Next is “Las Flores Del Mal” which is a nice tribute (not to say a rip-off) to Iron Maiden’s “Prowler”. It borrows Maiden’s melodic arrangement played along with the riff, it moves at the same pace and it even features a very similar vocal melody.
“Resistiré” is another speed metal number carried by a kind of proto-thrash riff and supertight drumming. This song clearly resembles into something that could have easily been released by one of the N.W.O.B.H.M titans as for example: Raven. “Satanico Plan (Volumen Brutal)” and “Concierto Para Ellos” are both mid-paced tune that while different between them they have the same effect on me. They are good but not something that makes me headbang as a possessed motherfucker like “Resistire”, “Rockero Indomable” or “Anda Suelto Satanas”. Then we have a really enjoyable and tight primitive heavy metal tune in the form of “Hermano Del Rock & Roll” which moves at mid pace and it features a masterful riff. The album ends with the instrumental “El Baron Vuela Sobre Inglaterra” which has the same structure as the early Iron maiden instrumental songs, but I seem to like this one a bit more than the Iron Maiden ones. No, it’s not a reek of stupid fanboyism or something similar; I am being 100% objective. This instrumental is one of the best I’ve heard in my life.
Conclusion: It’s primitive, it’s loud, it’s from 1982 and it’s HEAVY METAL. Go for it.
This album is probably one of the best Heavy Metal records of all time... And... Yeah!! It is from the most classic spanish band.
Lars Ulrich said that it was one of his top ten album (a long time ago, when he was a metalhead hehehe).
Their style is pure Heavy Metal from 1981... We found some Speed Metal like "Resistiré" ("Stand Up" in the English Version, like Accept's "Fast As A Shark" or "Rapid Fire" by Priest) combined with 70's Hard Rock ballad "Dame Una Oportunidad" and powerful "pre-thrash??" riffs like "Las Flores del Mal" (Flowers Of Evil). Variety, melody, and quallity-catchy songwriting with a english production. Bruce Dickinson help them translating the lyrics for the english version.
The Musicianship is great, classic rock musicians doing a very powerful record. Excellent guitar work by De Castro Brothers (great harmonies, solos, riffs and filling... Two great classic guitar players) and great voice by Sherpa (and great bass to).
If you like classic Metal, Hard Rock, NWOBHM... This is for you!