With Puya’s sophomore offering, Union, all eyes of the Kerrang!/Metal Edge set are on the bilingual band, as their Fundamental debut wowed gimmick-starved critics and Ozzfest fans the world over with the quartet’s fusion of Caribbean flair and heavy-handed groove, consequently putting them at the forefront of the dubious nu-metal scene. Well, just as Fundamental blew right by this writer, so does Union, perhaps more so given the omnipresent hype surrounding the record • not for lack of trying, though. Union obviously cementing the band’s sound n’ style even firmer, Puya’s rhythm-intensive crunch is an admirable one, drummer Eduardo Paniagua (among various other percussionists) plying one polyrhythm atop another, guitarist Ramon Ortiz thusly following suit by sticking to a syncopated chug of various • but not too various, if you catch my (cold) drift • flavors that’s guaranteed to get the mosh pit slugging along. But as much as Union is geared toward such • that is, the mosh pit • it takes numerous stabs at dancefloor-enabling flamenco, not really furthering the admittedly stunted material as much as it distracts from it • more accurately, being just plain distracting • even if the band’s roots lie in Puerto Rica-via-Florida: Basically, tone down the flamenco rhythms a tad, and the record’s something Tom Morello and the rest of Rage Against the Machine could tackle after a couple margaritas, minus some of the inflammatory invective, more or less. A bummer? Not really, as Union evinces no small amount of ambition, but is this really the Lateralus of Summer ’01 some industry folk are making it? Hell no.