Criaturas - Espiritu de Libertad (Cover Artwork)


Espiritu de Libertad (2013)

Hardware Records

Criaturas play a brand of hardcore that's short and to the point, and in that spirit, let's make this review similar.

This Austin-based band's lyrics are all in Spanish, but the fury and passion so obvious in the music make the possible language barrier irrelevant and the poorly accented sing-alongs most enjoyable. The frightening racket they blast out brings to mind old UK hardcore, in particular D-beat. The music smashes ahead with sledgehammer riffs and heavily political lyrics in the manner of Discharge, and like Discharge the band appear concerned with matters such as freedom ("Libertad O Muerte") and atom bombs ("Inveirno Nuclear"), and also utilize that famous drum pattern of theirs. The band also seem to take a lot from Japanese Burning Spirits hardcore, in particular Paintbox, with whom they share a taste for bouts unabashed epicness and nifty guitar work. The whole sound is tight, fast and straightforward, never falling into metalcore breakdowns, masturbatory soloverkill, or any form of sloppiness.

The album goes by in a shot with no songs over two-and-a-half minutes and the majority around a minute or less. However, they pack a lot of energy into this short time and the brief songs are often as sky-scraping as any long-form metal or psychedelia. The front-woman (I can't find the band member's names anywhere, though everyone seems to know they share members with other nearby bands) has a great voice and style, and can go from shouting to howling to singing almost sweetly, without any loss of intensity. There's also great interplay with male backing vocals. The guitars are incredible -- simple and nasty riffs interspersed with ripping solos and interludes (the opening and closing tracks showcase all of these exceptionally well), and the rhythm section is the very heart of the beast, powering it with some seriously agile, driving drumming and intestine-ruining bass grumble. All this makes for a selection of brutal but accessible songs.

Overall a fine record for lovers of hardcore punk, be it British, American or Japanese. Hopefully a lyric sheet is out there somewhere...