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VAMOS ARGENTINA, CARAJO! - 85%

Xlxlx, September 2nd, 2016

Argentina's metal scene is spotty, to say the least. For every classic band such as Hermética and Rata Blanca, you got dozens upon dozens of recycled, milquetoast whiffle metal such as Horcas or Logos. Still, if you dig deep enough, you might just strike some gold, and Helker happens to be a goddamn mine of the stuff. Hailing from Buenos Aires, the heart of the country, these porteños know better than to simply ape their countrymen. Armed to the teeth with a crushing production, a killer vocalist, and simple, meaty songwriting, they are easily some of the best stuff the country has to offer as far as hard-edged heavy/power metal goes.

The main star here happens to be Diego Valdez, who might as well be Dio's long lost Latin American son for all we know. Diego's vocal resemblance to the little man with the big voice is uncanny at times, especially during the mid-tempo headbangers such as the titletrack. However, his wailing also possesses a screechy, screaming eagle sort of quality, and he isn't afraid to reach for the stratosphere with the occasional piercing shriek. Truly, Valdez rightfully steals the spot as the main attraction in Resistir. The rest of the band, while not as brilliant as their frontman, provide an excellent backdrop, with plenty of pugilistic riffs and strong rhythms to move the music forward. Think of bands such as Tad Morose, where the singing is clearly the focus, but never to the detriment of the music, as the former is fantastic and the latter highlights that to the best effect. Combined with the testosterone levels and guitar thickness of something like Grave Digger, it makes for a terrific mould to forge the band's steel.

Resistir is, generally speaking, a very consistent record, with the possible exception of "Ayer y Hoy". It's a rather tepid ballad, and it could've been excised from the album with little consequence. Beyond that though, most of the material that makes up this record is at the very least solid, with some seriously ferocious cuts to be found every couple of tunes. "Por Mano Propia", for example, is a vicious stab of a song, like a lost Painkiller track as played by pissed off Argentinians. Then there's "Basurero Nuclear", a speedish, catchy tune where Diego seriously shows off his pipes. The grooviers burners like "Prisionero" or "Traición" also work rather well, providing the listener with a bit of a breather without actuallly turning down the heaviness all that much. It's all very workmanlike, with an economy of songwriting that you don't see very often nowadays. So many bands try to be the fastest or the heaviest or the most complex around, and in the process forget that a big, thick riff and a catchy chorus are still an option.

No frills and no gimmicks to be found here. Resistir is a genuine effort from an honest band, showing everyone that the only things that you need to make the very basics of heavy metal work are good songwriting and some real attitude. If more Argentinian bands followed their example, the scene would be something to marvel at.