Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cultura Tres: El Mal Del Bien (2011)

Bilingual Immersion School of Sludge

Review by joanismylover, the third metal attorney.

There is a school down the street where one can immerse one's child in Spanish speaking classes so that from an early age, she learns that language along with English. The program benefits native Spanish speakers by teaching many subjects in that language, and it benefits the native English speakers by teaching them Spanish. Society as a whole benefits, so the theory goes, because there will be better understanding among these two different cultures who although live so closely would otherwise not interact.

I have no idea what Cultura Tres means, having been taught no Spanish while attending high school in Japan. Make me guess, and I'd say "Three Cultures". What does that mean? I have no idea. I have no idea what "El Mal Del Bien" means either but if I were to guess, I'd say "The Evil of Good", but that makes no sense. Neither do a lot of these other song titles. What does makes sense is the slightly above average sludge post metal we hear on this release.

The singing is bilingual immersion all the way. The intelligible barks alternate from English to Spanish and Spanish to English with apparent ease. I found myself enjoying the Spanish language moments better. (That only belies what most of us already know: lyrics typically don't influence whether we like metal songs or not.) Things don't really take off until the second song, "Purified" and it's not until the fourth track, "El Sur De la Fe" that the old head was bobbing to the sludge groove. I hear classic rock like guitar solos in spots, but these are offset by tasty barks of lyrical Spanish fury. Any good post-hardcore sludge release needs to have some shout alongs and this one has a few.

My complaints are the usual - slow start, interludes that don't add much, and overall length that doesn't make me want to hit the replay button right away. Cut out the first track and track three (or at least shorten that tribal drumming track), and you are already 11 minutes for the shorter/better. Some of the tracks are really good but those moments where I was nodding or shouting along with the tunes were too few and far between. The above referenced "El Sur" and the if you are patient, the title track. It's good but not great. Decent but not mind altering. I did enjoy the Spanish immersion and alternating English shout outs. I would expect good things though from the band and would check them out again.

3 out of 5 stars.

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