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Inheritor - Mestizo

Inheritor - CD Review




CD Info
Self Released
9 tracks
English lyrics
9 / 10


Inheritor is South American music. The music originated in Columbia; Bogota as I recall. The main guy is Alejandro Cardenas and, unless I’m mistaken, he’s now a resident of LA. But the roots go deep, this music mirrors the last release I covered back when they were still a Colombian band. So, there’s not a lot of LA here, this is Bogota, and music from that part of the world has a flavor you just don’t find elsewhere. In fact, Alejandro talked about that background and how it influenced the music, “The album is called ‘Mestizo’ which means Cross-breed; it was intended to be a tribute to all the folklorists, artists and musicians dedicated to preserving the roots and traditions of the Colombian plains, and it mixes Metal with ‘Joropo’ which is a Folk music genre from Colombia and Venezuela....The Idea was to make a ‘Colombian Folk’ metal album not a Colombian ‘Folk metal’ album; if you know what I mean.”

There’s a flavor to this music, it’s guitar based with a B & B vocal component. Female vocals on this release are done by Allyah Davis, probably not from Bogota. She has a nice voice, one that seems to deliver on that South American style Alejandro favors. The harsh male vocals are delivered by Alejandro and he certainly knows his way around this style of music. The lyrics are also done by my man Alejandro and they’re interesting, we’ll look carefully at some as we move along. Alejandro talked a little about those lyrics, “The Lyrics for tracks 1, 5, and 9 are actually based on local traditional Stories and Mythology from the same regions (Colombia and Venezuela). Track 4 is actually a Cover from a folk Composer called ‘Antonio Lauro’.” So there are clearly links back to those parts of South America Alejandro is familiar with.

There’s a short intro vid on Youtube that provides a short intro to the sound. Limited in scope but you quickly make up your mind if this is for you or not. I’ve always found South American metal to be more than a little worth while so it definitely works for me, and Alejandro definitely knows his way around a guitar. There’s another vid or two that demonstrates some production action and I always enjoy this sort of thing. But, the background credits demonstrate that this has both a Colombian and LA flavor, the release was recorded at Ziggurat studios, Bogota, Colombia and ES Audio, Los Angeles CA.

There’s an interesting background to the material in a visual sense. Alejandro says, “If you look the cover closely its actually a horse’s eye; this animal is a symbol of strength and power in the region and you also get the shades of a special kind of birds from the region as well.” South Americans have some interesting ways of looking at the world, something we don’t often consider when looking at the region. Being from South Florida, I’m maybe a little more comfortable with this understanding, and the music that presents it. But, as with so much of the world, we can never get too much understanding of those parts of the world we will probably never visit.

Well, on to the music. We begin with Echos of a Weeping Soul. You quickly begin to hear that South American approach to things. The beat is a little more pronounced, the bass pounds and the drums provide a somewhat off beat feel that we don’t always experience with other sounds. But, to my way of thinking, it’s the interplay of the vocals that sets this apart in a larger sense. Memsabe Davis provides a soothing vocal that meets the harsh vocals provided by Alejandro in a way that only the South Americans seem to be able to capture. The lyrical approach is also a Gothic interpretation that rides a slightly different road than what we might get in the Netherlands:

Tricked by fate / Spoiled by the demons in her mind
Look what you`ve done to your child

Her lover never returned from the battles in the plains
False news from his death arrived at the door / Years went by till the truth was heard
(and) she had to drown her new born in the lake / (fear, pain, loosing her mind)

Alejandro doesn’t spend much time with the ballad. Tracks like A battle of Zen and Madness point us in a harsh direction driven by pulsing guitars and crunching rhythm lines. There’s a raw feel to much of this music that appeals to me, the sound is haunting while at the same time pounding. To some extent you can feel the softness of the South American environment, but it’s couched in raw power. Alejandro seems able to capture this feel like few others.

There is, however, the occasional softer tone. Moonlight Serenity demonstrates a form of beauty, a dark beauty to be sure. Ms. Davis does this one largely on her own with a soft guitar to guide the music. It’s a dark sound, one that had personal meaning to me during a particularly tough time as I put my father to rest this past month. This one really speaks to loss:

Just let me heal you
Tell me were it hurts, tell me why
Lead you / To a better place
Far away from this lies.

And even while your far away
I can still hear your voice in the rain
In every moment of silence / Hiding, / Under my skin

But Alejandro doesn’t spend much time here. The following track takes us back to a harder line. Manifesto of Non Conformity utilizes those off beat rhythms to best effect as the vocals again move between sounds that range from near Salsa to the more traditional South American sounds I enjoyed as a child presented by an acoustic guitar. The lyrics also take some divergent direction:

“Proud we march thru the tempest
Standing as one, always untouched by your mediocrity”

Your infectious chants are not meant to last / And your wealth lies upon thy lies
Victim of your own disguise / (your) shelterless mask

no no no no / I hear thy cries breaking the silence
Shed no remorse you must be strong

It’s easy to forget that this music has a very contemporary component. It’s not the South American background music, it’s not the femme vocal, it’s the harsh male vocals. And Alejandro has a fine capability here. But, more importantly, that vocal seems to work exceptionally well with the rest of the material, especially with the femme vocal which actually gets most of the track time. It works especially well with the guitar approach which is often thrash based but which moves between that and a traditional Spanish guitar, not something we see all that often in this genre. You really get that on tracks like Forbidden but Not Forgotten where we get a nice mix of all components. I truly treasure music that is based on cultural components that represent the culture from which the music is drawn, and this is one of the best in that sense that I have experienced.

This complexity is found on a number of tracks, and sometimes it’s found on tracks where the instruments shine. Carora is a purely instrumental track where we get some hard guitars over harder supporting material. A nice diversion from the B & B.

Alejandro has provided a work that represents a culture and the music from that culture that is not to be ignored. I may appreciate that style more than most, but, I suspect this is music you’ll appreciate as well. Se trata de musica que es algo mas que musica.