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Tierra Santa is a phenomenon for me. The band which made I had forgotten about some old classic outfits like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and many more great metal crews. This album is a kind of specific magnum opus, the sixth performance Tierra Santa consistently was trying to reach. They did something splendorous – after totally remarkable “Indomable” album, they recorded another masterpiece. And I can say – better one! Although the differences in sounding are rather minimal and being all the time in the same heavy metal stylistics, Tierra Santa improved the compositions at all points (see below). “Apocalipsis” is an album with all high-level tracks contrary to the previous record I can find some songs only very good. If there were some echoes of Iron Maiden creativity during listening to “Indomable”, here Tierra Santa completely broke with this. Unless somebody will find similarities of bass player Roberto to Steve Harris style.
“Apocalipsis” is maintained in rather mid-tempo, though the band doesn’t avoid the faster songs, “Kamikaze” is the glaring example. The record sound knocks down after few seconds, great fine juicy tunes, but not sterile which is a standard today. Simultaneously production shows just a live band, it permits you to dive into the depths of this material. Passing on to the musical content I have to premise that “Apocalipsis” is just pure heavy metal. Here you are all the elements: vocalist, guitars and drums work, production, passion and something unusual – remarkable talent and vivid imagination. It compounds on the work of art. Tierra Santa doesn’t exert itself on technical contortions, even I would say the power and intensity lie in simplicity. The basis of each song is very expressive clear-cut guitar riffs - very vivid and full of melody, then captivating Angel vocals and excellent melodic lines which adorn each chorus. In addition Angel sings in Spanish which is the next good point. The keyboards are present here, but in a minor role and don’t soften the sound fortunately. The music is very well-thought-out, but it is played just on the loose, with boundless joy and ease. The band proves the word “sensuality” can exist in metal world without any gothic/nu-metal mixen. It doesn’t become a cheap slogan taken from the soulless tv. Tierra Santa proposes a real and sincere music which is like a stepping-stone in daily round. It sounds a bit strangely, but although my soul is fed up with all that is good and valuable, beside all these life-giving elements, there is also something else, the appearance of sadness, suffering, despair and even death.
The “Apocalipsis” album consists of eleven compositions forming inseparable entirety, just like title of the album: eleven letters, eleven songs. When I had heard it first time, I loved just an opening song called “Nerón” which is in fact splendid composition being good example on mid-tempo. A mysterious keys introduction goes before, giving some signs we will be witness of something unique (by the way, patent is taken from “Sangre De Reyes” album). After about 50 seconds the heavy metal feast begins. Excellent guitar riff played by one guitar, then the second guitarist joins with monumental drums. All the things are watered by the keyboard sauce. Really gorgeous! These methods of playing riffs remind me a bit Grave Digger, there is no imitation of course, but you know what band kills the silence after few seconds. Returning to the song, circa two minutes the chorus starts to reign the mind. It is superb, breath-taking symbiosis of melody and Angel vocals (Spanish ones! I wonder whether this album would be such a great stuff with English? I don’t think so!!!). This track has also a guitar solo, not so unusual (maybe I write like this after listening to this perfect chorus?), but it really fits here. In turn, the second title track is faster a bit, situation is very similar – we immerse into the kingdom of riffs but here the beginning is energetic, also masterly guitar lead, and once again vocals full of expression. The song ends unawares and leaves the tunes of chorus once again. Another great song! The next track is different a little, calm opening with acoustic guitars turns to mid-tempo of guitars which becomes something I really love this band: sensitive leading guitars with no proper riff and splendid Angel vocals. A dozen or so seconds the song wears previous guitar work. To the best of my memory “Nací Siendo Libre” was my second favorite song from the album. “Tu Misión” has an interesting guitar work with some keyboards, again mid-tempo, guitar lead present in first stanza, very lofty chorus, perfect stuff for live shows. After second guitar solo, about 3:25 keys with heavy guitar take control, the song goes into another dimension, hard to describe it, because it is merely fourth composition and “Apocalipsis” slowly reaches its acme.
The four songs have passed and Tierra Santa attacks with “Kamikaze”. No doubt, the fastest track on the album. Again killing riffs with bone-crushing bass lines. I face kamikaze! Amazing chorus (yes, again…), but the drummer is like a machinegun operator on the board of Zero. Seemingly chaotic solo lead presages sudden end of the song. It harbingers “Rumbo A Las Estrellas”, probably the most ‘optimistic’ song. Excellent guitar works are the basis to create unique atmosphere which is helped by the keyboard parts, they rule under guitar cover through the composition. And again chorus… What can I write more? Solo lead is development of the chorus melodic lines. The best track here? Possibly yes. Listen to the phrase: “Buscar mi sueño/ donde el cielo aun sea azul/ viajar sin miedo a naufragar/ y una bandera solo izar…/ Libertad!”, which runs perfectly into the mighty chorus. This track ends after four beautiful minutes, it’s like emotions eruption dominating my senses, to be honest, one of the best track I have ever heard… The seventh song is opened by short heavy guitar introduction and quite good solo lead, but there is something brilliant on the end of this lead – captivating melodic tunes. And then the band do the best – riffs, man, powerful riffs, how can they do this? After chorus I can find another pearl in this: beautiful solo which is, in fact, the second part of the first solo. It starts at 1:30 and circa 1:56 turns to this heavenly melody, it makes the soul is breathing a fresh air, the pulse is growing stronger. Describing the next song I must admit that is rather similar to title track. Not so fast, of course, like “Kamikaze”, keys are audible almost through all song, which passes on into “Soñar Con Ella”. Finding here hard riffs opening the track, I can marvel at keys and vocals in first stanza and perfect rhythm section. Marveling seems has no end, ‘cause Tierra Santa expose to the listener anew mirificent turning stanza into chorus. From the Angel mouth the words spring into my mind, he can really modulate his voice, it is absolutely top performance in my personal vocalist ranking. Wonderful solo lead is pure adornation whereat the band applies to the things I wrote earlier: when guitar lead ends, and pre-chorus (four verses) appears on the scene with harder vocals still tuneful. The uncountable stroke of genius! Yes, minutes passing by, we reach the next-to-last track which is a real killer! Fine drum work vociferates there will be no mercy. There is speed and energy, but I can also find here… yes, exactly, melody. No surprise, the banner chorus for the band, but guitar solo lasting almost 45 seconds is divided into two parts, everything played very fast still in classic way. Then seriatim chorus, stanza and sudden silence come into existence. The last track completely varies from the rest. The shortest one (2:36), like closing ceremony, no heavy riffs/drums, with sensitive and sensual vocals and acoustic guitars appear as a great thing on the end. The Tierra Santa music is the key to another world where there is possibility to imagine whatever I want to. Always when “Apocalipsis” ends with this “Hermano Del Viento”, I don’t push play button right away. Some moments of reflection and revery come to my mind. To put it briefly, Tierra Santa put the equal sign between metal and art. Indeed uncommon…
Some words earlier I wrote about suffering and death. Well, during first listens to “Apocalipsis” I was reading books about War of Secession, The Battle of Gettysburg, Vicksburg. After few years, during the listening the album, pictures and scenes of soldiers martyrdom, of suffering and fratricide, of all-embracing death, come to my mind… The next beautiful thing is “Apocalipsis” encloses with all the palette of passion, carnality and fatality on the other hand. So it has, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the ability to get to each nook in human soul.
The word ‘apocalipsis’ means revelation, and let me be damned if I talk lies! This is real revelation – for my life and for my metal life. One of the best metal album in my huge collection. One of the most important. The synonym to words ‘heavy metal music’. The album I couldn’t rate otherwise than the absolute. The album I call: TIMELESS CLASSIC…