THE SPANISH METAL MILITIA
South America, like in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia to name a few and other Spanish-speaking countries in the Western hemisphere like Spain had a flourishing underground of heavy metal that is oftentimes overlooked, especially when compared to some European countries. The metal beginnings of Spain took it’s reign starting in the early eighties, like most heavy metal bands. As an avid fan of foreign metal, along with having a Spanish-speaking mother I’ve always been intrigued by language. Since I never took the time to learn Spanish myself, opting to learn French instead, something I don’t fully regret, I just wish I could time travel and learn Spanish earlier so I would be able to understand the lyrics in some of these masterpieces. Over the past few days, I’ve been especially interested by the work coming out of Spain ever since stumbling upon a band called Santa. Though I had breezed past their seminal album, Reencarnación in the past, this was the first time I had re-visited it since along with the rest of the bands albums and was able to fully appreciate it. In conjunction with this re-discovery, someone had brought to my attention the existence of a Facebook group called “Spanish Metal Militia”, solely focusing on bands that surfaced in Spain during the eighties through photos, footage, and information curated by Spanish metal fanatic Pedro Ocete. I’ve found it to be the perfect resource for an introduction into this country’s musical landscape.
The most prominent scene to arise would have to be the one that joined the likes of bands that have gone down the commercial route (but who very much so started on the same level of obscurity as the other bands that will be mentioned later on), the face of this movement being Angeles del Infierno. They achieved widescale success, while for the most part keeping true to their roots sonically. Opening for bands like Motorhead and Saxon helped boost their ranks. Obús and Barón Rojo can arguably be added into this categorization.A big trademark of Spanish metal would be the inclusion of the word ‘metal’ appearing every .5 seconds in the lyrics. But let’s be real, what’s a heavy metal band without this element? If you can look past the cheesiness of some of the lyrical themes, you’ve found yourself a musical goldmine.
That being said, the impact of Spanish metal is undeniable and the impact lingers on today. I leave you with some gems of the country to familiarize yourself with...