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One of the most consistent Spanish metal LPs - 90%

BlackFlag, June 25th, 2010

Imagine you were in your always reliable music store. It’s full of vinyls everywhere. It is 1985 and, searching through the brand new stuff you find this album. The cover it shows is not very attractive. In fact, anybody buying a heavy metal album in 1985 would expect a cover with a stunning topless girl (even if it was a painting) with leather boots and chains all around her body. Instead of that, what you find here is that 100 year old granma wearing the same cap Halford wore in 1979. At least she’s not in topless… well, you better take Virgin Killer by the Scorpions if you judge albums by their covers.

Virgin Killer is not a bad album, and neither is Toca Madera. Definitely the cover is not very metal, it could even seem a joke, but the fact is this old lady was one of the incarnations of heavy metal and hard rock movements in Spain, back in the 80s. She was Abuela Angeles (Grandma Angeles) a die hard rocker who never missed a gig in early 80s’ Madrid rock scene, a symbol for any Spanish fan of heavy music.

And isn’t this album heavy, my friend?

Recorded at Mediterraneo Studios, the same where Judas Priest recorded Defenders of the Faith, placed in the most un-metal place on Earth, the sunny and peace loving paradise Ibiza island, this album deserves to be in the top 5 Spanish metal albums of that decade.

No weak points here. From the title track to the last instrumental there are no downs. If Salvese Quien Pueda approached a bit to the speed of Judas Priest, this album reduced a bit the tempo and increased heaviness and intensity. Very well produced, everything here sounds crystal clear. In fact it seems it could be recorded ten years later and it’d sound exactly the same.

Compared to their previous works, this album is as dark as its cover, as mature as Abuela Angeles but still with a big dose of that don’t give a fuck metal attitude. Toca Madera contains lyrics dealing with themes like drug addiction (Sindrome) and urban night-time reality. Bitches are one of these last topics. Reina Callejera has some inappropriate verses from an actual view of this topic. But, damn! It was the eighties. I suppose calling a bitch “you’re a stupid sex machine, you took all my money, blah-blah-blah” when there weren’t so much mafias behind prostitution business was even funny. I don’t think the band played this song in their reunion gigs, though.

As for the music, it’s rather difficult to make comparisons with this album. Panzer had a solid and very personal style on this album, with a powerful rhythm section, great pounding drums (like at the beginning of Dios del Rock) and an audible bass along the record (very well executed on Sindrome and Instrumental). Also, for this album the band was a four piece for the first time. The original guitar player, Juan Leal, left the band before entering the studio, so Suso Diaz recorded both the rhythm and lead guitars, with remarkable results on the rhythm guitar tracks. Carlos Pina’s voice is here at its best, more high pitched than ever and produced to feature that delicious vintage echo of the well done metal albums of the eighties.

In short, a must have for any fan interested in traditional metal and/or Spanish heavy metal history.

Highlights: Número negro