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A Band of Mad Witches - 90%

EvinJelin, September 12th, 2017

I had already read about Las Brujas on Metaladies, but I had never really paid attention to them until I heard a certain songs of theirs, and now you can find their only album among the music I have been listening to the most these days.

"Me Llaman la Loca" has everything I want in a heavy metal album: riffs with lots of energy, nice melodies, an "epic" atmosphere, lots of emotion and many unusual or interesting lyrics. The band had a lot of energy and clearly love playing some wild guitar riffs. Listen to the powerful choruses of "Delirio de Persecución", and "Me Llaman la Loca", where it seems that vocalist Graciela Folgueras seems to throw her lyrics wildly so she won't be outrun by the instruments. As well as the wild instrumental "Fusilame en Camera Lenta", and their sped-up cover of "Johnny B Goode".

Like most good heavy metal albums, this one is quite diverse. Overall, every track can be described as 80s Spanish-language heavy metal with a female vocalist. But there is quite a difference between the songs I already mentioned and the dark yet fun "Las Brujas Existen", or the blunt anger and almost thrash metal sound of "Los Fusilados Muertos No Están". Or "El Habitante", which can be described as heavy but somewhat slower, with a both melancholic and defiant attitude.

Another thing that makes Las Brujas interesting is their lyrics. Many of their songs deal with madness, or what society perceives as abnormal, and being a social outcast. I was particularly moved by the lyrics to "El Habitante", about a man who is completely marginalized by society, and the narrator is the only one who pays attention to him. He has suffered in the past, which is probably the reason why he's isolated, and even though the narrator is in love with him, as the chorus says, he doesn't want love, he only wants freedom. In the last chorus, the narrator repeats the other character's words, as if she was also thinking that. That makes a good affirmation of one's individuality, and desire for freedom: no, yo no quiero amor, solo quiero libertad !

Other tracks also express a desire to break free from society's norms, like the song about everyone thinking you're crazy because you're haunted by memories, or the one celebrating the women who hide their magical powers, who secretly meet at night to cast their spells and sing rock. Because during the witch hunts, many women were called witches for not obeying societal norms, so of course modern-day witches must be ladies who like rock…

And it's implied that this culture who forces people to conform can also kill non-conforming individuals without consequences. "Los Fusilados Muertos No Estan" was the song that made me interested in Las Brujas. I unfortunately couldn't find the lyrics, but it seems to be referring to people killed because they were seen as subversive, even though official documents only say they are "missing". The narrator represents everyone who knew these murdered people and want to find out what happened to them and avenge them. This is what caught my attention: this furious thrashing number, with vocals full of contained rage, about events that I know actually happened in Argentina, during the band members' youth. OK, I never read the lyrics, so maybe I'm attributing a meaning to this song that it doesn't have. But it's hard to hear a song with a title like that, released by an Argentine band during the 1980s, and not think about this.

Again, it goes well with the album's theme of living in an oppressive society. This is what gives the album its purpose. It's not obvious, because it's still open to interpretation, and as for many other songs, I'm afraid I'm just seeing things that aren't there in the lyrics. But does it have to be obvious ? No, subtlety can be a good thing. It gives a certain poetic aspect to Las Brujas's lyrics.

So yeah, this album was a nice surprise. The band had a vision, as they say, and in their short career, they still had to time to give us some good songs. This is an entertaining album with good songwriting, nice instrumentation and some social commentary about topics that aren't often explored in metal. Maybe tracks like "No Va Mas" and "Infierno de Pasion" aren't that memorable, but the good songs are fantastic. If you don't listen to the whole album, at least make sure to hear "El Habitante", "Los Fusilados Muertos No Estan" and "Las Brujas Existen".