Austin, TX—wich recently shed its longstanding slogan “The Live Music Capital of the World” in favor of the less desirable “The Place Where Ben Weasel Punched That Chick”—is home to a relatively new five piece hardcore band called Criaturas. As is usually the case with incestuous genres such as punk, Criaturas shares its members with other bands—an impressive pool that includes Deskonocidos, Vaaska, J-Church, and others. But they are a creature (or, ah, el criatura) all their own. Last year they recorded a cassette-only demo of catchy, spastic ragers that they distributed at their shows. I suspect Criaturas, along with Weird TV, Getting Even and a handful other rad bands who have released demo tapes recently are largely responsible for the cassette player sales spike of 2010. (Believe it or not, there actually was a cassette player sales spike in 2010.)
Eventually the Criaturas demo caught the attention of columnists at various holier-than-thou punk rags, whereupon lots of very nice things were said about them. As is typical these days, soon afterwards ripped copies started making the rounds on uploader's blogs. Since then, Criaturas' growing fan base has eagerly anticipated the release of new material. The wait wasn’t long. Aranas en el Corazon—which translates to “Spiders in the Heart”—comes our way courtesy of Martin Sorrondeguy’s (Los Crudos, Limp Wrist, N.N, etc.) Lenguna Armada Discos label. Four songs total, the record is blast of frantic, melodic, thrash-tinged hardcore.
In terms of hardcore punk, lyrical content means little provided the vocals don’t annoy the shit out of me. As long as it’s not outright racism, homophobia, or straight up idiocy (unless it’s idiocy purely for the sake of idiocy,) I can tolerate anything at a level of not-quite-but-almost-headache-inducing and above. No worries here, as—if band name, title, and record label were not dead giveaways—it’s all in Spanish. And shockingly harmonious for a band that lists Discharge and Motorhead as influences. While the D-Beat affections are there, I am more inclined to liken Criaturas to other female-fronted, similar sounding bands like Infect or Pandamonium.
Listen close enough and you might just hear the tiniest bit of guitar solo. Don’t worry about getting bored though, as no track clocks in past the minute and a half mark. The guitars are blazing, the drumming is lightning fast, the bass is, well, whatever bass should sound like in these scenarios; and the vocals are attractive as hell. I’d be hard-pressed to tell any of these songs apart from each other. And that’s by no means a bad thing. Criaturas does things short, fast, loud and in-your-face. In other words, they’re perfect.
7.9 / 10
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