Review by Adrian Evans-Burke
Assigned by Alfredo Duarte
I’m admittedly far too lazy to lean heavily upon Google Translate to understand each of the twelve new pathologies purportedly outlined in this album by Argentinian rock band Massacre. While my grasp of Spanish may be pitiful, I thankfully have enough appreciation for and experience with 80s-90s alternative rock to find joys and layers of influences to unpack in each of these fuzzed-out, colorful tracks. Given the year this was released (2003), Massacre had decades of alt rock, grunge, and post-rock to sort through, and clearly they’ve done their homework. This album is full of surprises, interesting tones and sounds, and seems to represent a band fully confident of their ability to absorb influences from Sunny Day Real Estate, Failure, Stone Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, and Jane’s Addition into something wholly their own.
From the sequencer swells and cheap-casio keyboard claps of the album opener ‘Adios caballo español’, you think you’re in store for some odd late-90s EDM rock. Then drums and fuzzed-out guitars take over and you’re suddenly living in some shoegaze-Jane’s Addiction hybrid; especially on the vocals which, for reasons unknown, call to mind a Perry Farrell with a vocal range of more than four notes. The cyclonic guitars have shades of Dave Navarro, and then suddenly I’m hearing echoes of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Warped’ from their lone Navarro album. This song really sets the stage for the rest of the album: energic, driving, and full of interesting call-backs to classic sounds without being derivative.
‘La nueva amenaza’ is for fans of Sunny Day Real Estate while ‘Ambas estatuas’ is filled with swirling, thick guitars that call to mind a sunnier version of Catherine Wheel. ‘Querida Eugenia’ is reminiscent of early Oasis without the nasal, pugnaciousness of Liam Gallagher. Massacre does run the risk of sounding redundant here, with track after track being drenched in driving, fuzz-faced, phased-out guitars while the vocalist repeatedly relies upon the same “telephone/megaphone” effect on his vocals. This impression is probably enhanced by my poor Spanish, leaving out a large chunk of the album’s performance. That said, there are some welcome breaks in the middle that add diversity, such as ‘Bienvenido al mundo de los confluctuaditos’, an instrumental track with a second-half that recalls the foreboding outro of The Beatles classic ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’; or ‘Ideal para el invierno’, a track that features spoken word over an interesting mish-mash of musical influences, coming off as Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Love’ with dark 80s AOR synth embellishments. All of these observations are intended to be compliments, it’s just without understanding the cultural or lyrical context, these various (assumed) influences are my only anchor for analysing this album.
In the end it is an enthusiastic thumbs up for me. I have no idea what they’re singing, but the music speaks my language. If you’re a fan of any of the artists name-checked above, you probably won’t regret giving this album a shot. As a guitarist, I particularly love all the tones and riffs crammed into each song. Just don’t ask me what they’re singing.