A horrible hack

Venganza - Antidroga

Zaragoza Letal

Year Released: 2013
Format: LP
Label: Actua - Proukouskaya - Canya - Ginger Beer
Reviewed by Lewis on May 17, 2013
The Spanish state has seen somewhat of a renaissance of punk/hardcore these last few years, with countless numbers of diverse bands with their own unique sounds and aesthetics. This split 12”, with its beautiful silk-screened sleeve, is the city of Zaragoza's latest effort. I believe the bands share some lineage, as Antidroga was the first band, did this recording as a demo, and then some of their members went on to form Venganza though I could be wrong.

Antidroga is explosive, raw hardcore punk. Raw, not in the sense of the contrived overblown fuzz that is a current craze in the western world, but stripped down, furious fast hardcore full of energy and life that has best been captured by bands like OTAN and Hondartzako Hondakinak. They are definitely catchy and I'm finding their songs stuck in my head. Occasionally they have a primitive and repetitive style laced with sing-along stomping choruses that bring to mind early Oppressed, or Mau-Maus records. As the records spins it builds into a desperate and uncomfortable hardcore punk attack.

Venganza on the flip are some what faster and more inclined to thrash. At first the chaotic speed and drumming is reminiscent of Sin Dios, but their sound is not nearly as clean and polished. The ugly vocals are always apparent over the racket, and whilst they break it up a lot – with time changes, group choruses, introductions and breakdowns – ultimately they always returned to a fast paced thrash attack influenced by such legends as HHH. What is good (and unusual these days) is that Venganza put English translations to their lyrics in the booklet insert so I can understand what they're going on about. Their lyrics rally against the isolation of modern society – attacking the dumping ground nature of old people's homes and the oppression of technocracy and Western democracy; “Extreme capitalism, disproportionate production, someones are dying of hunger and others throw out the food.” However their lyrics are not depressed or resigned to a certain fate but celebrate the resistance that life can be. They reference 'Mecanoclastas', some sort of Spanish Luddites and rejoice at the experiences of friendship and the passions of humanity despite hardships. The final song, the more mid-paced 'Kids of the Neighbourhood' is as good as any anti-authority anthem as I’ve ever heard; “Kids of the neighbourhood, with dreams and interests, rowing against the current, dancing with the dead, their only wish is burning everything, lawsuits and sentences won't stop them.”

Overall, this is a stunning record, dripping with passion and thoroughly recommended. Venganza are a good band playing fast thrash reminiscent of the Spanish classics but it is Antidroga that steal the show. Their pure raw hardcore is some of the best I've ever heard.

Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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