Review: “Maleza” by Bala

Having already managed to leave a mark in the Alternative Metal scene which helped them break the chains of national touring and taken them to as far afield as United Kingdom, Japan and Australia with impressive live shows that have even attracted international festivals such as Stone and Dusted (US) or Rock al Parque (Colombia), a third album in six years from BALA is certainly an interesting prospect. The Spanish duo in Anxela Baltar (Vocals, Guitars) and Violeta Mosquera (Vocals, Drums) are making their major label debut for Century Media Records, recording, mixed and mastering their work at Ultramarinos Studios in Barcelona.

As with their previous pairing in 2015’s “Human Flesh” and 2017’s “Lume“, this fresh record doesn’t surpass the 25 minute mark; “Maleza” is a collection of cuts that blend styles of Punk Rock, Grunge and Stoner Metal with a barbed aggression and gritty intensity in both Spanish and English. Sort and fast with the energy of Punk and attitude of Metal, each one is a violent burst of aggression with no holds barred; as if the band are in a basement or garage, ripping it up without a care in the World. There are distinctive early 90’s vibes in the guitar work of songs like “Mi Orden” (or “My Order”) which has moments of early Hole or “Bleach” era Nirvana with a rough and ready approach that impresses and gives the record a certain sense of nostalgia without sounding old thanks to modern production value and recording methods. Heavier bursts in the likes of “X” that are reminiscent of early Soulfly, with the choice of guitar tone instrumental in the sound and having just the right amount of fuzz to cover the stylings that are within the bands repertoire are also well received without being too far from the bands beaten track. It sounds like some of these cuts have been done in one take, there is a seamlessness to them which gives the impression that they were recorded live, even if given they are a duo and with the layering on show, isn’t actually possible. That’s a testament to how much work has gone into creating these tunes, so much more than meets the eye or ear. The vocal stylings within the record are intriguing; a combination of drawn out screams, harsh whispers, singing and spoken word, angst laden with a violence to the delivery that raises the middle finger and points it at those who said their dream wasn’t possible. The aching “Una Selva” (or “A Jungle“) a sombre note to end the record on that reminds of My Ruin. You certainly wouldn’t want to cross either of these ladies, you’d end up with a beer bottle smashed over your head and left to bleed out in the gutter as judging by these tales of violent anguish, they can certainly hold their own.  [7.5/10]

Track listing

1. Agitar
2. Hoy No
3. X
4. Mi Orden
5. Cien Obstáculos
6. Quieres Entrar
7. Rituais
8. Bessie
9. Una Selva

Maleza” by Bala is out 14th May 2021 via Century Media

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