With so many gory alienation fantasies in death metal, it’s difficult to find the truly fine-grade chops. Brujeria are incendiary Spanish-language death-grind raiders who deal with the everyday gore of life in Latin America. (The mysterious group seems to make its albums only during periods when members of Fear Factory, Faith No More and Napalm Death all have free time.)
Machetazos! is a landmark in aural atrocity, employing a violent hell on earth as the backdrop for a blistering, aggressive onslaught of religious and greed-induced horror. On Matando Güeros, Brujeria further glorifies the dark arts of blood worship and heroin trafficking with bellowed lyrics like, “Trafficiando drogas, coca y mota/La benedición Satánica, quien nos para.” “Molestando Niños Muertos” describes even more gruesome pursuits. The sleeve’s positively appalling color photographs of a head and a decapitated, dismembered body underscore that the criminal lyrics are based wholly in reality. Compared to these machete-wielding hate bandits, Skinny Puppy is holding a toothpick and Unsane is waving a potato peeler.
Anything beyond Matando Güeros seems redundant, but Raza Odiada is up to snuff, with equal doses of sluggish pounding and claustrophobic speed. On the opening cut, the band pumps a stream of bullets into California governor “Pito” Wilson (portrayed by Jello Biafra) as he delivers an anti-immigration speech. On track after punishing track, Brujeria is anthemic, brutal and dynamic, toasting perverse idols like the rebels of the Chiapas uprising, Colombian drug boss Pablo Escobar and that favorite scourge of Catholicism, Lucifer.