BALA, the extreme metal duo that sounds like a great band and brings us their third album titled "Maleza".

Bringing together two elements of the same kind and interest is usually just the beginning of a band and that's why BALA is not just any band. Starting from all their artistic proposal that more than attracting attention, it is their creative proposal that awakens interest for its important and incredible suggestion of Extreme Metal.

"Maleza" their third full-length is already available, with the backing of the international label CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS which is always a winning bet. We have a production that is simply excellent in terms of its powerful, unique and combative rhythmic and harmonic content. 

The cover of the album, a shark's jaw, as the conductor of this review is our shark in his artistic inventiveness, his music is like the skeleton of this animal made of cartilage, not bones. That is why only its jawbone remains as a sign of its existence. Hence its peculiarity and uniqueness with other bands at national and international level. Their cuts assign them a great force of rambunctious and instigating sonority, with outrageous maneuverability without weight to fall in the uniform and invariable. His routine of rhythms is stealthy, cautious and noisy. Rebellious if we wish to summarize all the previous adjectives.

Mirlo blanco is Vega's eighth studio album, tenth in total including the re-release of Circular and a live album. It is a 12-track collection released through his own independent label La Madriguera Records, with distribution by Sony Music Spain. Produced by Kike Fuentes and recorded between April and June 2021 at Garate Studios, on analog tape with the base band and live lead vocals. With an intro and 11 songs, all by Vega.

It has as guests Manuel Carrasco, partner in the second edition of Operación Triunfo, Francisca Valenzuela and La Marisoul. As first advance Un golpe. Bipolar, the title track, Patria and Sobrevivir follow.

Vega: "'Mirlo blanco' is a rawly honest, energetic album, where in singular communion beauty, nostalgia, euphoria, rage, peace and mourning bless the bread and raffle the cross. Written -without the pretension of being an album- mostly in the middle of a pandemic. An album where nothing is filler and everything has a reason, from the first song to the last, from its different formats to the design with its music box die-cuts. Everything on the album is rowing towards my deepest longing as an artist: that my songs survive me. My name is Mercedes. My nickname Vega. Vega has sung the Mercedes album more convinced than ever that it is a pleasure to be identical and to recognize each other in front of a mirror. I have survived. To my two names and their yearnings. There is much to celebrate".

Kings of the Beach was born in Vigo in the summer of 2013 with Adrián Rodríguez (guitar, vocals), Yago Guirado (bass, vocals) and Samuel Otero (drums)... "Samu and Adri were tired of doing covers of Green Day and Blink-182 with their first band and decided to start doing covers of bands like Wavves or Fidlar.

Adrenaline. Sweat. Chaos. Fun. Energy. Rampage. Words that evoke the spirit of Kings of the Beach, a garage trio from Vigo, vintage 94/95, that proves that, for at least part of the young people, sharp guitars and fast rhythms are still a valid language. A language that acquires full meaning in their wild live shows, where everything seems possible: naked people on stage, flying plates, fainting, a guy dressed as a dinosaur trying to contain a stage invasion. Pure rock & roll. If you haven't seen them, on Tuesday, August 28 in Ourense and on Thursday, August 30 in Mos they will give the last concerts of a summer in which they have had a full schedule.

"Play fast, sweat a lot". That's what their performances are all about, according to Samuel Otero, the drummer. Yago completes -the "Y" is an express request- Guirado (bass and vocals): "It's about freeing yourself. You are there to leave the concert relaxed; it's like a sauna, but a violent sauna". "It's like a sauna, but it's a violent sauna. They already have us on record", Adrián Rodríguez (guitar and vocals) finishes off the band. Later they will tell some of these anecdotes.

Furious Monkey House is a rock band formed in 2014 by teenagers Mariña, Carlota, Amaya, Irene, Diego and their teacher Gonzalo.

Inspired by the authentic pop-rock of the nineties, they are proof that music knows no age.

We love to play and that people enjoy what we do.

IT IS CURIOUS to see how the members of the band Furious Monkey House (Pontevedra, 2015) have grown in all senses -they were six and now they are seven, they were between 11 and 12 years old at the beginning...-. Now they are in full promotion of the album Love, Scum & Dust, the second of their career. As part of that road they have traveled, there is their debut with Run, to which they added Life into the Wild -main theme of the original soundtrack of Zipi y Zape y la isla del capitán-, their first appearances in the media, the surprise when they managed to sell out their first concert in Madrid, the publication of the book with the history of the band, Furious Monkey House. Run, monkey, run, the award nominations... 

Yup, the Bastards are back! Galicia’s own Bastards on Parade seem to have tossed aside their “annual 4-track E.P.” motif operandi with their latest offering, the full-length CD, Tales from the Death Shore.

But this is hardly the only change for this band with this release! The Bastards’ journey of evolution seems to be similar to that of one of their main influence’s, The Dropkick Murphys. But with each step, the band moved ever away from being yet another DKM-esque Paddy-Punk outfit. And with Tales from the Death Shore, the Bastard’s have begun to well and truly carve out their own place in this ever-growing field.

Without question, the Bastards have the song-craft down. This would probably be where many of the lesser bands have stumbled, but where BoP truly shine. They have honed their style to be a solid, rocking, yet accessible Celtic Folk-Punk sound, seamlessly incorporating all instruments, (guitars, bass, gaita, drums, whistle and mandolin,) into each song to create a true focus. But this has always been the strength of this band. And happily, this is still the case on Tales from the Death Shore.

No, it is Identity that seems to be the Hydra tackled on this release.

You see, early on, the Bastards decided to incorporate the gaita, (or Galician bagpipe,) into their instrumentation. Now, I don’t know if this was a conscious choice to assert the band’s Galician identity, or one made out of necessity from the availability of pipers in the Galician area, but I do know that it has lent a nice cultural signature to the band’s music.

And now, on Tales From the Death Shore, a distinct accent in the vocals has become apparent. Far more-so than with the Bastards' previous three releases. Now, call me paranoid, or simply over-analyzing, but I can’t help wondering if this is, again, a conscious decision to express the Iberian-Celtic identity of the band. If this was a planned one, it is not only a good idea, but one that has proven successful for band influences, The Dropkick Murphys, (Ken Casey’s Boston accent drips all over every one of that band’s material.)

And then there are the songs themselves. Local references are peppered amongst Tales from the Death Shore, (most noticeably in the immediately catchy track, Gaelic,) but the inclusion of two Galician traditional tunes, all “Bastardized up” to BoP standards; opener Marcha do Antigo Reino de Galiza, (“The March of the Old Kingdom of Galicia,”) and “Chantada’s Jig,” (also known as Muiñeira de Chantada, one of Galicia’s most popular folk tunes!), really cements this argument.

Now, the incorporation of cultural pride is fine, expressing feelings toward one’s home, an’ all that, and makes for great subject matter for any band. However, in the case of the Bastards on Parade, it really elevates the band up to a higher level. It gives the band more personality, not just the authors of a collection of songs. This metamorphosis is either a very smart marketing move, or an extremely fortunate development. It also makes for some damned good listening.

In the Celtic Folk-Punk genre, there are a few well-overused clichés: the old “Shane-like” vocals, massive accordion-focused production, and the most blatant, and tired of all, the excessive drinking songs. Used in moderation, a good drinking song is great. However, nothing but drinking songs makes a band come across as shallow; a one-trick pony. The Bastards have successfully avoided all of these pitfalls, throughout their brief yet productive career to date. And the inclusion of Galician traditional songs and tunes can only open up the ink-well for further material for these guys!

After all, it is the songs that are the meat and potatoes of any good CD. And this is a really good CD! The Galician elements add a nice flavor to the mix, but nothing here is too “foreign” or unusual. Every track, (or should I say, "Tale!") is accessible and familiar and in keeping with the BoP sound. My personal faves on the disc, (aside from the aforementioned ‘Gaelic,’ which I dig a lot!) must be the moody and introspective ‘Raging Sea’, the staunch and proud battle hymn, ‘(Black) Flags and Torches,’ and what might be considered the band’s first official single from this release, the driving and unrelenting, ‘Infamous,’ with its rousing chorus and pervasive mandolin wandering.

I have been lucky enough to follow along with Bastards on Parade’s growth and evolution, and although I know that Tales from the Death Shore is only the current stage in their development, it is really good one. Thanks, guys!

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