Friday, January 11, 2013

V8 - Luchando Por El Metal (1983)

I've written a few pieces on my admiration for various Central and South American metal bands and the manner in which they could absorb the severity of their circumstances into their music, transmuting it into an extremity paralleled by few other artists before or since. Bands like Parabellum, Herpes, and Hadez all churned out some of the most vicious, atonal, bomb-blast anti-music ever commited to tape but I would hate to imply that all the brutality of authoritarian regimes, drug-fuled corruption, and some of the bloodier moments of Cold War spillover necessarily forced musicians into the realms of quasi-listenable discordance. There were antecedents, unique for their time and place but not really remembered for the boundary pushing of their harsher followers.  

V8 is one such band. They're widely believed to be Argentina's first metal band and it's not hard to pick out what they were attempting. Their first album, 1983's Luchando Por El Metal (Fighting For Metal – for those unversed in Spanish) almost seems a sort of missing link between late NWOBHM and early speed metal, but whereas the former genre was comprised of bands who tended to release a killer EP or two and then either fall apart or make an album consisting mainly of shitty filler material and the latter focused more on technical ability and falsetto vocals, Luchando Por El Metal is rock solid and stocked front to back with well-written catchy tunes, almost punk-ish in their rawness, not a million miles removed from a rougher Kill 'Em All (which was released four months later). 

My Spanish is a bit rusty, but from what I can tell V8's hatred of both society and hippies was surpassed only by their devotion to heavy metal (the introduction to “Parcas Sangrientas” gives way to the heavily accented shout of “HEAVY MET-AL!” in case there was any question or doubt where their alliegences lay). And it may be easy to have a laugh at the single-mindedness of it all except for two things: first, in 1979 Argentina was still a military dictatorship that had withstood decades of de facto civil war, withV8 forming during the most repressive era of that regime's rule, a time when rock music was banned and anybody performing it did so at their own peril – imprisonment and forced disappearances were the order of the day – making the act of being in a metal band one requiring a level of bravery most musicians would have trouble mustering; and second, the album fucking rules. It's a total ripper, a rager, a torpedo bonzer, and ass-pounder of the highest order. Anybody who claims to like awesome things and doesn't like this needs to take a good, long look at themselves in the mirror and try to figure out where their head's at.

V8 may have had some analogs in the Motörheads and Judas Priests of the world, but to say their music wasn't new or different not only isn't really the point, but it lays bare the cultural privelege at the heart of being able to denigrate the relevance of something because it's reminiscent of something else. V8 was new and different, at least in relation to their corner of the world, and their popularity there attests to the vacuum that they filled for the generation of people who needed something as bracing, cathartic, and anarchic as metal to be able to come to terms with a social structure so rigorously and vehemently opposed to the freer expressions of the human spirit. Also it fucking rules. 



ido said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. This is an absolutely ripping album.

Anonymous said...

Love this. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

That was one hell of a sales pitch.
Viva la revolucion.

pb said...

Thanx for sharing this absolute slab of burning metal, bro.
Try out for "Riff" or brazilian "Patrulh Do Espaço", both really valid. But not so erupting like V8!
LOVE THIS BLOG! hugs from Italy

Patricio said...

I'm from Argentina and I'm glad you apreciate V8. They're a true legend over here.
It's a strange coincidence that the sound of metal evolved so similar here and in the UK and USA. I doubt that there was a single nwobhm album in Argentina because of the censorship of the military dictatorship in the late 70 and early 80.
The democracy returned in 83 and the hippie movement was huge. V8 was a wind of fresh air, rebelion and badassery.