El Hijo de la Aurora – Wicca: Spells, Magic and Witchcraft Through the Ages

My obsessive hunger for more music has brought me again to Peru, this time to a band called El Hijo de la Aurora, whose new album, which will be discussed here, I received in the latest R.A.I.G. Records package.

El Hijo de la Aurora, translated as “Son of the Dawn”, was born in 2008 after a drummer, composer and producer Joaquin Cuadra left a band called Don Juan Matus and together with a guitarist Manolo Garfias started EHDLA. The same year an independent label from Peru, Espiritus Inmundos, released their debut album called Lemuria. Wicca: Spells, Magic and Witchcraft Through the Ages is a brand new album, consisting of 8 songs, sung in Spanish, whose lyrical themes, as you might guess, deal with Wiccan views of divinity, esoteric and philosophical books, as well as old horror movies. It has to be mentioned that the band in its base works as a trio, but most of the songs feature additional musicians who are credited at the bottom of the review.

Musically, Wicca is rooted in 70′s stoner rock/doom, with heavy riffing, intense drumming and vocals that range from whispers to screams to growls and all the way back. Besides the aforementioned stoner rock and doom structure, the band does not fear to explore further, thus you might hear elements of blues rock, psychedela, even prog rock mixed up with occultism. As it’s notable that the majority of stoner/doom bands were or are influenced by Black Sabbath, El Hijo de la Aurora’s closest description, by my ears, would be blending aforementioned Black Sabbath with Comus, Candlemass, King Diamond and 70′s horror movie soundtracks. The raw energy splutters from every single tone and seeminlgy, the band does not care too much to tame it, but rather let it grease the speakers. It’s time to rundown through the album and make a closer cut of what you might expect from this Peruvian band.

El Ojo Hipnotico is a short instrumental made of a scenery taken from a horror movie, that leads to Der Golem and that’s where the story of Wicca begins. Slow drony riffs combined with vocals which are screaming out in the vein of hard rock/doom metal mixture, builds up this track that picks up speed in the second half.

Psicodrama pulls off the intensity of heavy psychedelia over stoned hard rock, with backing vocals, or better to say backing screams, just to complete the picture of a soundtrack’s atmosphere that the album carries. To break the “monotony” of all this stoner/hard rock riffage and screams, the last minute of the song gets along in a nice guitar closure which explodes in a riff at the beginning of Libro de las Sombras, a riff that, if you listen to it loud enough, will send chills down your spine. To get you closer what I am talking about, maybe this is a good time to bring Twister Sister into the story as a reference, but just for a moment. If you have ever listened to their song called Burn in Hell (although I may say with an assurance that the cover version of that song, played by Dimmu Borgir is probably better known), then just think of the beginning of that song and you’ll probably remember the riff which opens this particular track. Now, you have a more close image to the riff El Hijo de la Aurora fires in this song. I have to mention that Libro de las Sombras lasts exactly 14 minutes, which is to say that this is the longest piece of the album. While I was trying to make a closer explanation of that spooky riff which is wriggling throughout the whole song, meanwhile the band successfully recalls the Black Sabbath ghostship and through a sludgy interlude changes the song’s attitude towards a more, well, proggy sound. The middle part is reserved for bass lines that loop the main theme and differently staggered vocals and screams until the riffing artillery explodes and all hell breaks loose!

Coming to El Espejo de la Bruja actually brings us in a more dynamic part of the album in comparison with starting dullness, with pretty psyched out guitar solo and vocals that are just out of control.

Mas Alla de Toda Pena is a kind of acoustic interlude, done in a bluesy manner, with vocals that do not give you a feeling of soberiety. Imagine Damo Suzuki’s mumbling, just with a much harsher voice.

Akasha keeps on the blues rock territory bringing up Hammond & Moog, but the biggest highlight is certainly a guitar solo, masterfully played. What actually amazes me about this song is the band’s creativity and ability that in a moment can cut off all connections with blues rock and set the direction in a straight conventional way. And that’s what exactly happens in the last seconds of the song.

After a blues excursion, the band pulls out some Jon Lord on Hammonds. Of course, not a real Jon Lord, but sort of his playing in a track named Vril. Hammonds’ antithesis is reached once again by masterfully guitar solos what makes me to say that this Manolo Garfias dude is an excellent and gifted guitarist.

The final track, Cuentos del Bosque Eneantado Part II, is once again a completely acoustic piece with female vocals, putting a cold, dark touch on the overall achievement of these Peruvians.

El Hijo de la Aurora succeeded to avoid a prejudical approach the majority of bands of the similar genre orientation have implied in their music. You might find this album “hard” for your ears due to its vocals in Spanish, but to break that image, I may conclude that during the album’s running time you don’t feel any kind of pressure from that side. This album floats easily on its way. The Peruvian scene is certainly stronger by having another band under its wing.

Tracklist:

01. El Ojo Hipnótico (Intro)

02. Der Golem

03. Psicodrama

04. Libro de las Sombras

05. El Espejo de la Bruja

06. Más Allá de Toda Pena

07. Akasha

08. Vril

09. Cuentos del Bosque Encantado (Part II)

Line-up:

* Joaquin Cuadra – drums, FX

* Manolo Garfias – guitar, bass

* Rafael Cantoni – lead vocal

with:

* Tania Duarte – vocals (9)

* Marcos Coifman – vocals (7, 8)

* Julio “Naka” Almeida – vocals (6)

* Jorge “Coco Cortes III” – back vocals (5)

* Miguel Angel Yance – Hammond & Moog

* Saul Cornejo – Hammond (7)

Links:

www.myspace.com/elhijodelaaurora

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.
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