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In nights like this, I’d like to take a walk inside a time machine, and go back to the 80’s. An exact year? 1985. Where would I want to go? Spain. Location? Madrid. Any particular place? Well, one of those pubs where the most popular heavy metal bands of the time gathered and played every night, where the fuck else? I can just imagine myself having a cold beer after another, while I chat with my closest friends, as we enjoy of the young, promising Spanish bands of the time such as Tarzen, Leize, and Sobredosis. However, I’m anxiously waiting for the main act, which features a band named Tritón, and they’re about to showcase their self-titled debut album. Many say that it’s an outstanding head banging release, and that those guys really know how to rock.
-“I hope these bastards are as damn good as everybody says!” – A few sceptical metal heads shout. Loud mumblings are heard, showing disapproval for the previous comments, while many others repeatedly chant the band’s name. After a few minutes, the lights go out. The band members appear one by one, take their positions, and magically begin delivering a few instrumental solos, in order to fire up the atmosphere. The crowd goes nuts. “Are you ready to get out of control for the next hour? Are you ready for some rock ‘n’ roll?”, the singer asks the audience. Almost instantly, every soul that is about to enjoy another gig replies with positive answers.
What follows is the beginning of heavy metal insanity. The first sounds of Tritón’s album opener, “A Top de Amor y Lujo” show themselves with an easy-to-follow bass beat, which immediately grows to crunchy guitar distortions, and then Máximo González begins his performance exhibiting his mid-ranged pipes, which aren’t special, yet catch your attention. He sounds somehow similar to Silver Pérez (Muro’s leader and singer), only that Máximo’s voice is raspier and his constant growls give him an original tint. His low-pitched falsettos are brilliant and he appears to be a little bit drunk as he sings. With the thunderous drumming, and the constant use of keyboards (Which are justified and give the band’s music a new substance), there can be no mistake that Tritón’s art was carefully worked, and maybe only the sound level of the guitars isn’t as high as the rest of the instruments, but it’s a detail that gradually stops flying around your head. This ride is worth a shot, and once you climb inside this fabulous rollercoaster, you won’t regret the ride at all.
Tritón’s ephemeral venture in the 80’s scene left a superb release, which owns a familiar heavy metal structure. Imagine Barón Rojo including keyboards to their music, and Manowar playing a live show being elegantly wasted and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what Tritón’s music sounds like. The album is straight mid-paced heavy metal with no soft ballads, or slow tracks. Their music was made for one reason only, and that was to invigorate the masses. Although the album has unforgettable tracks like “Tienes Feeling”, “Sangre y Sudor”, and “Viejos locos”, which entirely reflect the album’s essence, there are a few interesting highlights, which make me appreciate this release so much, and they’re good enough to make Tritón become another Spanish true classic. First, we have “Ni un duro por ti”, which kicks off with a very catchy keyboard riff, and is cohesively mixed with the bass. It differs strongly from the rest of the songs because of this fact, and its thrilling chorus swallows your brain so you can enjoy everything that the track alone has in store. It speaks about a former rock artist who now explores lame music genres, but still has the balls to call himself a “rockstar”. The band, in the contrary, describes this guy as a “rock impostor”, who has sold out. The song is the expected adrenalin rush that hooks any hungry listener and also one of the most memorable parts of the album, since it leaves no doubt that the band was totally faithful to the genre.
Another epic piece is the title track “Tritón”, which begins with a dreamy piano intro, as we listen to Mr. González, whose vocals carry a peculiar, yet right, interesting sound effect. The song later evolves into an agile double bass drumming jewel after you listen to the catchy phrase –and let me sing it one more time, please- “¡¡¡SU NOMBRE ES TRITÓN!!!” This is one of Tritón’s speediest tunes, but it also shows the singer’s strongest abilities, since his pitch goes higher this time, as he reveals the story of this mythological Greek god, who was the messenger of the deep.
Nevertheless, let’s get back to our imaginary gig. Tritón is proving right away how talented they are, but they have no clue that their career is going to be short-lived. However, right now the band is delivering a pompous rock ‘n’ rollish instrumental passage, faster than the speed of sound. It’s later followed by Máximo, who screams “Rock ‘n’ Roll!”- The audience instantly replies with a huge ovation, and the singer vehemently repeats the word “rock ‘n’ roll!!” one more time. This is followed by a louder noise from the spectators, who are delighted with what they’re watching and hearing. This is just the introduction to what is called “Sin Control”, a rock ‘n’ rollish track, which has all the characteristics to make it be considered as a pre-recorded live song, but as it happens with the rest of the album, “Sin Control” was also created on studio. Máximo González sings more naturally, and the musicians beautifully improvise with their instruments. No wonder it was only recorded once, so it definitely gives the realistic vibe that can only be felt inside a heavy metal concert.
Many people don’t pay attention to lyrics on the albums, because they tend to focus more on music, but that’s a huge mistake, since they usually miss an essential ingredient of what the listening experience is all about. Lyrics also help to decrease or increase an album’s score. Tritón knew of this, and that’s why they didn’t only centre on the typical lyrical themes that every heavy metal band of their time touched. The album speaks of apocalypse, true metal, myths, sex and daily issues that any rockstar usually has to deal with. I’d rather select “Principio y Fin” as one of the best songs in classic heavy metal, since it tells the story of how ancient prophecies predicted the end of mankind, and now the only survivor (The storyteller) is trying to find his way among the destruction that surrounds him, as he makes plans to rebuild his existence. The slow, overwhelming atmosphere that gives life to the song makes you feel the misery that the singer is describing in his mournful journey, but when everything seems to walk slowly, as if this was some kind of soft ballad… Wham! A fast part comes out of nowhere and covers the song with sorrowful moods, which work quite well with the unexpected primitive speed metal that embraces the song to an outrageous epic ambience. It also features some nostalgic keyboard solos, and gloomy backing vocals, which evoke mixed feelings on the listener.. Many consider this as the best song of the band. Don’t miss it, because it’s epic. So is the whole album.
The music keeps flowing and flowing. What better way to spend your night, than feeling the heavy metal flame travelling inside your vertebrae with such a talented band as Tritón?
And finally, the reality check takes away this moment of glory from me, the whole dream disappears, I get back to present day more than 20 years later, and I’m sitting in my desktop far away from Spain. However, something has changed. Now, there’s an indescribable “feeling” growing inside my heart, and instead of moving away from the PC, I take another dose of the album, and play it again. It’s motherfucking worthwhile, indeed.
Tritón wasn’t the common next door band that wrote unsophisticated songs, executed plain riffs, or just appeared to raise the number of bands that emerged in the mid-80’s. Tritón was more ambitious, and their utterly impeccable way of depicting their stories with professionalism and passion, is another reason why I absolutely recommend their self-titled record. Within the heavy metal shockwave that blessed us with hundreds of legends all around the world, Tritón, without lasting too long, left us a cult album, which has everything that an old-school listener wants to devour, and much more. My final instructions if you’re about to listen to it are as follow: 1) Take out the cold beers. 2) Set the maximum level on the stereo. 3) Push play. 4) Headbang and enjoy the show!