Aztlan – Legión Mexica (2021)

Speed metal effectively died once Sepultura mixed it with nü-metal and punk on Roots, but that also uncovered a new style by revealing that speed metal mixes well with tribal, folk, and classical influences, something Aztlan explores on Legión Mexica, a feast of Spanish- and Mexican-themed folk styles mixed with Pantera/Metallica style bouncy speed metal.

These songs operate by using the percussive muted strum riffs of speed metal, alongside shredding open string riffs in the Slayer/Exodus style for texture, with patterns from mariachi guitar alongside Aztec-inspired ritual music providing melodic foreshadowing that drives each song forward. Hissed distorted vocals drive this forward.

Like later albums from Prong that tried to incorporate other influences, this makes metal the backdrop and in fusing it with other styles, turns those into the foreground, letting them drive the riff changes that make a metal song move along. Designed for the radio market but nicely listenable, Legión Mexica shows greater attention to making songs instead of styles, bizarre riffs, and theories, and so despite being from a more commercial vein, hits harder and lasts longer than most material now.

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8 thoughts on “Aztlan – Legión Mexica (2021)”

  1. Serenade says:

    Needs reviewing.

    Helgrind – Demon Rituals
    Cannibal Corpse – Violence Unimagined
    Neraines – Yggdrasil
    Mayhem – Daemon

    1. Imagine you’re somewhere between 15 and 28 years of age.

      You can focus on one album a week. That’s going to shape your perceptions, memories, and associations.

      An album that is aesthetic without inner thematic conflict and synthesis will make you empty.

      Which of these will make you full?

      The Neraines is the best of them.

      1. Schweinhund says:

        Which albums from your early years do you regret having listened to?

        I still know some bad tunes from the Cradle of Filth debut.

        We all learn, but teenage memories really stick. Darn it.

        1. Weirdly, most of the stuff I ended up thinking was crap moved on. I really regret not listening to classical more continuously from my younger years, smoking a pipe starting age 16, and delaying my entry into the black metal camp for a couple years after 1989 when I first scored that Merciless album. Instead of really embarrassing stuff, we had hard rock and heavy metal stuff like Dokken and Guns and Roses, but I spent more time with AC/DC than anything else. It’s a musical education in itself; Angus Young’s leads are the soul of that band.

          1. Schweinhund says:

            Very cool, thanks for sharing!

            With regrets we at least know what to offer our kids (until they hate us for it, rebel and slowly grow back to loving it).

            AC/DC I can understand. It surprises me when good metal musicians mention Kiss rather than Angus & c:o as an inspiration.

            1. Kiss achieved the rockstar image and terrified middle America, so had instant cachet. They were like Venom without the weird. Basic hard rock, fun choruses, and so on. I grew up in a house filled with classical music, never liked pop or rock, and went into punk, at which point I knew metal only as “hard rock” until I ran into Iron Maiden, Metallica, DRI, and Slayer.

      2. maelstrrom says:

        “You can focus on one album a week.”

        This is what I do nowadays- the better to internalize the music. I used to listen to a lot of albums in a week but now I know what is worth listening to so I try to focus on only the good

        1. Numerically, I can probably listen to thirty or forty. But one sticks in the head and gets chewed over until assimilated. The process repeats from time to time. It’s also what I did as a teenager, and it enabled me to get entirely lost in the musical communication I was consuming, hopefully transcending consumption itself.

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