Saturday 16 September 2023



Its seems like a while since we at Desert Psychlist brought you an album from a non-English speaking/singing band but we return to doing just that today with an absolute beauty in the shape of Sótano's "El Semimuerto". Those with good memories may remember us waxing lyrical on these very pages about the virtues of the Chilean bands 2017 album ,"El Rey Máquina", a mind blowing collection of songs that blended blustering stoner metal with aspects of old school hard rock, but then the band slipped off our radar and we feared that they may have called it a day, thankfully it seems they were just on an extended hiatus and now they are back harder, louder and crunchier than ever.

"El Semimuerto" kicks off with "Yomotsu" and within seconds of hearing its doomy intro, a circular guitar riff slowly joined by low, low bass and tight solid percussion, it feels almost as if this band had never been away, especially when those clean but gritty vocal harmonies kick in over the songs slightly Sabbathian main groove. Next track  "La Habitación de la Bruja" raises the tempo up a notch or two and wanders into slightly more metallic waters with caustic guitar tones ramping up the gnarliness quotient to just the right side of nasty. "Locochaino" is up next, a glorious mix of old school heavy rock and up tempo doom graced with an extremely ear-pleasing vocal melody. "Semimuerto" follows in much the same vein as its predecessor but this time with a touch more strident and also boasting a face-melting guitar solo. We then arrive at "Calera en Fuego" and here we find Sótano injecting a little Latin funk and heavy psych into the musical equation all topped off with another superb vocal melody, the only criticism you could possibly level at this song is that at just over four minutes you'll want it to be longer. "Pagano" and "Micronauta" follow, the former another of those hard rock/doom barnburners, the latter a mix of  aggressive punkish swagger and thrash like furiosity. Final number "Paralasis" is like the missing jig-saw piece that completes the whole picture, Sabbathian riffs, heavy psych textures, funky Latin rhythms and easy on the ear vocal melodies all coming together in one mind-blowing finale..

Iván Villanueva (guitar/vocals);Víctor Silva (bass/vocals) and Alejandro Sanhueza (drums) hint, in their liner notes for this album, that pressures of work and life played a huge part in their lack of activity on the recording front over the last few years, so its credit to their dogged determination and belief in their music that they have been able to come up with anything at all let alone an album of the magnitude of "El Semimuerto". 
Check it out ... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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