La Armada – [LP]

Thursday, 09 August 2012

No band in recent memory has been able to so perfectly encapsulate raw, urgent aggression like La Armada does on their self-titled album. That might sound like a bold statement, but listening proves that it's the only one which suits; La Armada's self-titled record (their third – but first since moving to Chicago from Dominican Republic) doesn't exactly make other new hardcore bands pale by comparison so much as just totally overshadowing them like a chilling pall. Part of that dramatic image  might have to do with the little flecks of metal mixed into the band's hardcore assault and part of it might have to do with the fact that all the lyrics on La Armada are in Spanish, but it really doesn't make a lot of difference; there is a monolithic and aggressive tone in La Armada that is infectious and gravely hazardous.

Not being fluent in Spanish can actually help further a listener's enjoyment of La Armada dramatically. With a certain amount of ignorance in place, a listener's imagination is allowed to run wild and forces them to absorb the tone  of the songs over their meaning. On “Lucha De Clases,” for example, singer Le Cole absolutely assaults eardrums with lyrics like, “Ninguna injusticia social escapa la realidad economica/ La reparticion injusta del trabajo y el dinero/ Y la comida se pudre en los basureros/ Realidad de ideas desfasadas.” and sounds revolutionary when backed up as he is by guitarist Lapiz Consiante, bassist Pekenia and drummer Pable la Polvora. While a bit of the poison does get lost in translation (“No social injustice escapes this economic reality/ The unjust distribution of labor and money/ While food is still rotting in landfills/ a reality of lagged ideas”), but the Spanish performance both screams and fights for change – it is awesome in its brutality. The exact same form and style holds true for “Negacuones” (“Denials” in translation), “Sangre” (“Blood”) and “Cuando La Libertad Se Mendiga” (“When Dignity Is Begged For”), and listeners will find themselves feeling the music whether they understand it or not; they'll find themselves getting angry when the band expects they should because the energy is there, is transferable and translates (actually better than the lyric sheets do).

Now that the band has gotten its first North American release out, one can only hope it doesn't take long for La Armada to arrive. While they may have to buckle a bit and record a couple of songs in English in the name of accessibility for North American audiences, the basic structures – the sound, the anger, the aggression and the power of each song's performance – are all in place and impossible to miss here. All listeners need to do is take a chance, edge out of their comfort zones and try some of the truly hungry hardcore in La Armada on for size.



La Armada's self-titled album is out now. Buy it here , direct from Fat Sandwich, on their bandcamp page.

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