08 Sep 2021 - Stephan
Psychedelic Space-Stoner Rock | Necio Records | Release date: 07 May 2021
Rocket scientists, this one isn’t for you! You’ve already read the name of the band and the album title. You’ve seen the artwork. Eighty percent of what you expecting from “Immersed in the Andes” is probably accurate. So I should best call it a day and end the review right here, because what substantial insight could I possibly add at this point?
I’ve never been a notably fashionable person, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m also not immune to trends altogether. I think it was back in the middle or late 1990s, when a particular garment enjoyed a great popularity in all kinds of alternative, punk and also some metal circles. You remember these scratchy hooded sweaters, which were vaguely inspired by traditional South American clothing, but in truth basically looked and felt like a potato sack with an integrated fanny pack? I had one of those in a certain colour combination, which somehow always attracted connoisseurs of selected plant products, who were out of supply, when I wore it on shows or festivals. In hindsight I’m pretty sure that with a darker complexion or at least a dreadlock hairstyle I would have surely been frisked by authorities regularly.
Needless to say I didn’t have anything to sell. Ironically, I wasn’t even a consumer of said goods and didn’t smoke weed at all.
You see where I’m going with this, right? Since I also am no observant Satanist, have minimal knowledge of Peruvian indigenous history, don’t speak any Spanish and have never even been on the other side of the Atlantic as a tourist, there’s only one qualification left, on which I can expertly judge the second album of Satánicos Marihuanos: my, I dare say, excellent musical gut instinct.
So you better just trust me when I confirm that this album may indeed feature most of the clichés you’re assuming - but it does it in the coolest ways.
Being released by Necio Records, a one-man label from Lima, which is mostly known for psychedelic rock, it’s no surprise to find some small pinches of extra-stratospheric sounds sprinkled over this album. Yet primarily Inmerso En El Ande is built on heavy stoner doom and also just plain metal riffs.
Those riffs alone all seem familiar. Satánicos Marihuanos aren’t trying to reinvent the guitar. They even blatantly cite Metallica classics, uptempo Deep Purple or the famous Iron Maiden gallop. But context matters. This - sometimes a little too close - familiarity actually works in the album’s favour, because whenever you begin to think “ok is there something more to this?” the band surprises you by dipping your accustomed food into their special Aztec hot sauce.
Ambient noises, post rock grandeur, wild power trio explosions, vulcanic outbursts of black metal are all carefully placed over the run of the six tracks. And just like Satánicos Marihuanos are balancing the instrumental comfort food and the spice very decidedly, they are not overfeeding the listener with vocals. Whenever you hear a guest voice on Inmerso En El Ande, it will be important.
Even though this band mostly utilizes the language of metal and stoner rock, Satánicos are not striving for records in guitar shredding, heaviness or any other extreme, but mainly just tell a solid story with a sometimes atmospheric, other times just devilishly cool and ass-kicking mood piece.
It’s basically like Strauss’ Alpensinfonie, just for the Andes. And of course it’s also nothing like that at all. But at least the experience of a mystical mountain journey is somehow related.
I definitely enjoy this a lot, even without any weed consumption. And the album still keeps growing on me.
(Shut up, I know that comparison was blasphemous! So just calm down already, you angry classical music hools!)