Saturday 18 March 2023


 Spain is another one of those countries coming on leaps and bounds in regard to the underground rock scene, what first started out as a trickle has now turned into a flood with more and more Spanish bands seemingly appearing on the international scene daily. It should be also noted that there is an increasing trend among these bands to cease trying to cater for UK and American ears and instead write and sing in their native Spanish tongue. 
One such band are Jaén based trio Santo Rostro, consisting of  Miguel Ortega (guitars, synths, vocals); Kuki Galiano (drums) and Antonio Gámez (bass/vocals), who previous to the album we are reviewing today, have released three well received, well executed albums. The bands early releases were very much inspired by their early musical heroes Mastodon, High on Fire, The Melvins and Black Sabbath but those influences have waned somewhat over the years and slowly been replaced by a more refined dynamic, a dynamic that has seen the band putting more emphasis on texture and colour in their compositions, something their latest album "Despu​é​s No Habrá Nada" (Spinda Records/ Discos Macarras Records/ LaRubiaProducciones) will more than attest to.

A crunchy circular guitar riff coming out of one speaker announces the arrival of first song "Telarañas" and is quickly joined, in full stereo effect, by the drums and bass in a groove that although loud brash and heavy stays just shy of brutal. The powerful gritty but clean vocals decorating this song are frankly mind-blowing, as are its guitar solos which heavily draw their influence from Spain's Moorish heritage."Carcasa Digital" follows and comes out of the traps spitting blood and fire, its prog-metal like chord progressions and complex rhythmic patterns creating a somewhat angular attack that proves to be its biggest asset. "Aire" begins with acoustic finesse and ends in fuzzy electronica and betwixt the two is a fiery  mix of doom, sludge and stoner metal over which another superb gruff and powerful vocal performance is delivered. "Matriz" sees Santo Rostro once again drawing on their Moorish roots while also giving free rein to their more prog-metal side while final track, the instrumental "Despu​é​s No Habrá Nada", makes no pretence at trying to be anything other than an exhilarating and jaw dropping prog-metal jam, Ortega, Galiano and  Gámez showing that if you have the chops to play music of this complexity, depth and quality then why not just stretch out play the fuck out of it.

Santo Rostro have with "Despu​é​s No Habrá Nada" exceeded all expectations, they were always a good band, they were always good musicians and always good composers but for this their latest release we need to remove the word "good" from those statements and replace it with the word "great", or maybe even "superb". 
Check 'em out .... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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