Originally from the Dominican Republic, now living in New York City, metal trio M-16 sing entirely in Spanish and create music that sounds all fierce and scary, yet also has an underlying poetry not present in many bands of their ilk. Those who think they can’t dig this music because they don’t speak Spanish are missing the point entirely. Rage is universal, and any band capable of carrying their emotional message in their music will transcend any language barrier. The CD’s opening cut, “Porque No Morir?” (Why Not Die?) is pretty straight forward hardcore in the style of Puya and Sepultura, with the darker melodicism that Fear Factory occasionally tap into, so they’ve got a built-in audience right there.
Cristian Pena’s drumming is tribal and propulsive, his style supported by the dense bass figures of Daniel Estrella. While guitarist Omar Rodriguez (who shares vocals with Estrella) relies on heavy complex riffs to carry some of these songs, M-16 know when to take the action down to a slow, intense groove and make their point through restraint rather than a full-on lambaste. In this way, “Dale Pueblo” is a departure from the other songs, with its progressive feel, punctuated with a few tight jams thrown in amid the juggernaut of creeping dread. On the political front, “Raza” is a direct indictment of the early European domination over the South American Natives.
The last two tracks were recorded live at New York City’s CBGB, and fully capture the raw sound of NYC hardcore. The lyrically minimal “Ripped” (no translation necessary) deals with a kind of general disillusionment, while “Lloviendo” (Crying) speaks poignantly of a lost love with the lyrics “Estoy cansada de pensar en ti (I’m tired of thinking about you).” Far from being a towering monstrosity of pain and misery, M-16 seek to gain strength by coming to terms with these obstacles through their music. In the meantime, they plan to rock you on your ass. Who can’t relate to that?
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