Live Review : Brujeria + Venomous Concept + Aggression + Sangre @ Rebellion, Manchester on May 21st 2019

The course of true love never does run smoothly. Does it?

Metal has been my long time lover, and I find myself putting myself in weirder and weirder situations in the quest to prove my worthiness in its eyes.

Today it was “Do you want to interview and review Mexican extreme metallers Brujeria and Canadian underground thrashers Aggression?”

Erm... let me think...

Fuck yes of course I want to do that.

But I sit dejected in the Salisbury nearly 2 hours after I arrived in Manchester for my interview slots with absolutely no material to use. Only the knowledge that my name is on the list as reviewer is my saving grace.

Ah well. These things happen I guess.

One bonus of hanging around Rebellion as long as I did was I got to hear Sangre sound checking. Featuring Brujerias El Sangron on vocals, Sangre promise to deliver some ear splitting mayhem when they take the stage, and I'm not disappointed.

With an empty room, Sangre fill the gaps with their infectious groovy thrash. It's never an easy job opening a gig, especially as early as this one, but Sangre own the stage.

There is one particular track I've combed YouTube and Google looking for as it stood out, but I fail immensely at actual journalism whilst I'm head banging. I mean, I fail immensely at it anyway, but it gets worse when I'm having a little boogie. And boogie I can to Sangre.

Henry “El Sangron” Sanchez packs a powerful punch vocally and it's easy to hear why he was picked out by Brujeria to join them as second vocalist. I'm only disappointed that there aren't more people here at this point in the night to enjoy them as much as I did.

Next up are Canadian thrash pioneers Aggression, who have waited a massive 35 years to bring their music to our tiny island.

I was a bit apprehensive at first – Sarah doesn't really do thrash if Sarah is honest with the readers, and with song titles like “Strangulation Ejaculation” and “Halo of Maggots" I may have already wrote them off in my head.

But bloody hell.

Good things come to those who attempt not to judge a band by it's horrible song titles (what a catchy saying... I wonder if people will start using that).

The band are something of a thrash fans dream with a vocalist that can pull off the high pitched wail at the end of a line (think Tom Araya before his voice started to go) and lashings of speedy solos. Keeping very much in a horror and violence theme, Aggression evoke delight and maybe even nostalgia from the Manchester audience tonight.

I missed most of Venomous Concept as I had to take new later (and sadly more rushed) interview slots with Brujeria and Aggression.

I wanted to see Venomous Concept mainly due to it being one of Shane Emburys other projects outside of Napalm Death (this guy gets everywhere. What a legend) and I was expecting the same kind of frantic chaos.

Maybe another time guys.

Finally onto the band of the night.

Brujeria storm the stage in their masks to the opening bars of ‘Cuiden A Los Niños’ from the “Brujerizmo” album. The song starts with ‘Witch Doctor’ sang in Spanish (the 50s version like, not that dance remix 90s crap) before the opening riffs lay waste to the sugary sweet tones of what sounds like the chipmunks. The words translate literally to “Take care of the children".

It doesn't take long for the anti-trump song to appear in the set (third song in if I remember rightly) and we're treated to latest offering ‘Amaricon Czar, a song  which explores the American/Russian relationship.

Hongo (Shane again if you didn't know... I told you he gets everywhere) had some tech problems and Juan Brujo and El Sangron managed to keep the crowd entertained without breaking character.

They look amazing, I love masks and the whole concept of creating a new persona when that mask is on, and it's something Brujeria use completely to their advantage. Main man Juan Brujo is striking on the stage, his voice deep and gruff complimented entirely by El Sangrons powerful aggression.

But alongside of the politically and culturally charged themes the band are so well known for there is an edge of the kooky and more eccentric side of metal, with Brujo and Sangron sometimes doing choreographed movements along with their music in a manner not too dissimilar to a cheesey boy band. It sounds like it might be odd to watch but just those small movements executed with perfect timing are very effective in drawing the audiences gazes to the stage.

The set culminates in their parody of the ‘Macarena’... except it's called ‘Marijuana’.

Yep.

This was a really good gig through and through. All the bands I saw were brilliant, and my only real complaint couldn't be helped... someone came down on my foot with an unreasonable amount of force. Made the walk to the train interesting.

Anyway, we must be really famous now because a bloke on the train home recognised ROCKFLESH.

That's my gigs done for a few weeks until Download now \m/

Words by Sarah Cummings
Photography by Johann Wierzbicki