Compilation Dissertation – Ball de Bastons / Makil Dantza

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Been awhile since we did one of these.  So for those of you who missed out on our last one, let's explain before we begin, because this is a lot of reading, and it should be because it's a lot of work, thus the title of this feature. Compilation Dissertation is where we give a thorough review of a comp song by song.  So, instead of a general indication of what to expect, we give you our details and factual, elite knowledge-opinions on each band and what they deliver with tons of links, facts, clips, and pics.  More fun that way.  Interesting, we were first drawn to this particular LP by an incredible Spanish crust band called Instinto.  In fact, we were one of the first zine-sites to review their self-released full-length a few years back (review in the vault for an eventual appearance in our The Vault feature).  So, Instinto's in here, as well as a heavy sampling of many other Spanish bands, so let's stop with the introduction nonsense and begin dissertating on this comp.  One of the best we've heard in awhile, basically every song rips, except for one, it's one of the most worthy compilations ever put to plastic.  Thanks to Filferro Records and Hysterical Records for putting this sick chunk of punk together.  Now, let's begin.

1. Estricalla - "Ra-Joy Division 1213"

Boy, really wish we knew Spanish around here, but unfortunately Russian is our forte.  That's cool for pagan metal, but not for Spanish punk, sadly.  Estricalla are a hardcore punk act from out of Basque Country in Spain.  It seems the actual title of this track is "Ra-Joy Division 1312", as it appears on Estricalla's actual Bandcamp page, not as it's provided in the comp (which we've retained here), but regardless we're not sure what the number part even means.  Ra-Joy, however, appears to be a reference to the current Spanish Prime Minister, if you were curious.  Music wise, ohhh yeaaahhhh.  Estricalla rips up punk and makes it their own.  Great start to the comp, right here.  They fly in your face screaming, spitting all over your cheeks as they expound their views, and you can't help but agree when you listen to the sick, energized riffs and blasting drums.  Those drums.  It's like "Transilvanian Hunger" without the redundancy you don't make excuses for to explain why you're listening.  It's fast, loud, and angry, pure punk right here.  Estricalla Official Facebook  Score: 5 / 5

2. Assac! - "Malson a la Bata de Boatiné"

Now these guys do the speed of punk, they're pure speed practically, but they do it so fast you might not even notice they were even on this comp.  Since these guys come from Barcelona, the title seems to be a reference to a club there, as the first part means "nightmare at the...".  Whatever it means, Assac! come across as the more humorous of the bunch, but with a touch of Seth Putnam, perhaps because later on in this same LP you'll get the goofballs you expect in a punk comp.  These guys aren't entirely goofballs.  The vocal delivery is like angry chatter instead of childish mumbling.  It's incessant and batters off like a machine gun, the lyrics spewing like shell casings flying every which way so you slip on the floor.  It lacks some real punch via the bass and is a bit heavy on the treble, but it keeps itself short enough that it works, any longer and it would have probably fizzled out and never exploded at all.  Assac! Official Facebook  Score: 4 / 5

3. Kuma No Motor - "Aukera Onena"

Now here's an obscure band.  These guys have no presence on Discogs, at all, save for this very compilation we're reviewing, though their official site (linked below) has more than enough to figure them out.  But yes, my dear, that's what we like around here, a little presence so we don't sound like uneducated idiots.  Don't you know people come here for knowledge and scienz?  Kuma No Motor haven't even bothered, not yet, with a Facebook page or anything other than an official "site", which is largely a list of Bandcamp links, tour dates, poster art, and some vids.  After hearing this track, though, you're going to likely want to check them out.  Kuma No Motor blazes, but the true power of this one is its composition.  "Aukera Onena", which means "the best option", starts out with a bass line straight out of the toilet, nice and diseased.  They lay on the speed, the anger, just as you expect out of your hardcore punk.  But again, this is mastery in composition here.  "Aukera Onena" has moments of space, with just drums and vocals, and it slowly builds until that insanely awesome ending.  The last thirty seconds or so of this track are ripping with a slowdown leading into sick, assaulting chord work and rally cries.  Anyone want to board passage to Spain?  These guys are worth a trip.  Kuma No Momtor Official Site  Score: 5 / 5

4. Elpuntodevil - "M!E!H! (Milaka Ertzain Hilda)"

Thousands of dead commissioners?  Well, yeah, that's probably a loose translation since we certainly don't claim to have such skills in Spanish, but you get the idea, there is a slaying of authority here, friends.  This is political, classic hc punk ("from hell" they say themselves) about bringing something down.  Another act from Barcelona, Epluntodevil leans a little closer towards crust than the rest we've encountered so far.  But, regardless, they bring the speed like a heroin addict who never comes down and never shuts up.  After a brief opening sample, this one jumps immediately into the pit and leaves no survivors.  What is it about these Spanish rally cries that really gets our blood seething, even if we can't understand a word of it?  Who knows, but there's something at once primal and folk about the way they do it, and they even include a sample of traditional Spanish singing at the end of it for flavor.  Elpuntodevil Official Facebook  Score: 4.5 / 5

5. Humilitate - "La Voz de su Amo"

Want to know how to tell if a band is underground?  Look for a sign that they have no clue about how modern music works on the internet, and you're probably gold in most cases.  Here, you're so gold it's past superficial into an aspect of your inner being.  Your bones are gold, your muscles are gold, everything is gold.  What?  Let's just put it this way, the only presence of these guys you're going to find are occasionally videos of them playing out in LA and their Myspace page.  Can you believe it?  There are actual bands out there still using Myspace.  That just shows you how deep these guys have dug under the skin of the scene.  One Facebook event we found suggested they leaned towards thrash more than punk, and that's definitely proven in this track, which means "his master's voice".  Humilitate can chug with the best of thrash, and the solos rip and bleed up and down the fretboard.  There's something of a muffled quality to the sound, but it actually works to its benefit, largely.  Really the only complaint is the need of a chesthair boost to the bass, for some real drive, but thrashmasters should enjoy what these guys deliver nonetheless.  Humilitate Official Myspace  Score: 4 / 5

6. Instinto - "Anti-Cop"

Uh oh, here they are...  So these are the guys that first got us into this comp.  In fact, wouldn't doubt the cover of this LP was based off of the theme of this very song.  You'll see why and you'll also understand thoroughly how we became so hooked on following their work, likely playing it at our funeral.  Instinto aims, generally, for shorter tracks that typically stay under three minutes or less.  But what they deliver in that time is amazing.  The vocals are just at the end of punk and entering crust, it's an odd limbo where we all want to live out our eternity.  And that sound, ohhh my, it's harsh at the same time as it is developed.  In fact, they've somehow retained the same level of crust from their last one (linked way above in the intro).  They're either living in the same squat as they always have, or they're total masters of crust and know exactly where to keep all their levels.  The solos are dirty, the chords are like a fifty-year-old razor blade, man oh man Spain here we come...  Instinto Official Facebook   Score: 5 / 5

7. Mänägäitz - "Etxerako Bidea"

Talk about umlaut overload.  Christ, we're stocked on umlauts now for at least a year.  No, hey now, we don't mind them, it's just that for the band's sake it makes it infinitely more annoying to locate anything about them.  Some links we found keep the 'lauts, others just remove them entirely, in fact some sites won't even allow their use, probably because they're irritating to type.  Mänägäitz are a female-fronted, classic punk attack from Spain (not sure of exact location) that likes to keep it messy.  You can ever hear it in some of their live video cuts.  The bass keeps most of the drive for this song, guitars fragile in nature with decayed solos of an almost partial-gaze quality.  "The Way Home", as this translates, goes back and forth from rally the troops to a splash of purposefully awkward chords and drums that even sound like they occasionally lose their step, but that's what's so loveable about it; it's messy, it likes being messy, it grew up being messy, and it's going to stay messy until you have messy kids with it after engaging in messy sex.  Mänägäitz Official Site  Score: 4 / 5

8. The Outsiders - "Luces, Sirenas, Acción"

Well, since this one titles itself "Lights, Sirens, Action", you basically know what to expect from a band already defining itself as 'other', or specifically 'outside'.  Get outside the box dood, what are you doing in here if you're not?  Now, these guys play punk of the hardcore type, with a slight leaning towards thrash.  Feedback and crude chord work?  Yes, please, seconds please, please sir could we have some more?  What, more feedback?  Yes sir, please sir.  The Outsiders are surprising on this one.  They start out rather tame, and then the next thing you know they're bowling you over like a steamroller outfitted with nitrous.  As the speed builds, there's soon no coming back, from much of anything, just stay flattened.  Rather flavorful little solo close to the end, too that makes one smile.  The Outsiders Official Bandcamp  Score: 4.5 / 5

9. Diswar - "Bastards!"

These guys are straight hc punk, no question about it, you can tatoo on it their chests and it won't bother them in the slightest when they're sixty or older.  The image, the photography on their FB page (link at the end of this blurb), there's no other way to categorize them, and we're sure they don't mind it, either.  Coming from Bilbao, in Spain, their bass and guitars are sludged to the max practically, driven forwards by cardboard drums they pulled out of a garbage can.  Add to that some rally cries, 4/4 timing, and so forth.  It's pretty typical with ugly solos topping off the cake you've eaten at every birthday before this one.  Diswar have the typical punk edge you expect, but it's too typical when it comes down to it in comparison to some of the other work present here.  The only thing keeping them floating is their energy, which is what makes this song listenable more than a single spin.  You could remove them from Spain, however, and put them anywhere and really not notice the difference, which is also something of a bummer.  Bastards!  Diswar Official Facebook  Score: 3.5 / 5

10. Mind Crash - "C.R.A. (Centre de Rétention Administrative)

The LP writes it up as one word, but Mind Crash is actually two, and that's almost the score we gave them.  Just like the last one, these guys are straight hc punk with no additional features to mention.  What these guys have in energy, though, this track lacks in substance.  The recording quality is dirty, and we like that, but it's dirty in the sense of recorded through wax paper.  The opening riff goes somewhere entirely different right after it begins, almost as though they had no clue where to take it, so they figured, "eh, let's just speed this all up."  Speed is great in punk, sure, but there's never an excuse to do it just because, as you find here.  A solo's inserted in the middle as you'd expect and then suddenly, umm, it's over?  Mind Crash actually has some sick work, as well as art, on their Bandcamp page, but this sampling here is far removed from it.  Main problem, development, it has several key shifts that don't make any sense, or at least have no real sense of the organic.  It's like they tried to mark off all the typical hc slots in the voting box, but didn't realize the candidate actually kind of sucked.  Definitely listenable, but as we've seen from the above there's far better to be found in this LP.  Mind Crash Official Facebook  Score: 3 / 5

11. Matxura - "Mundo Muerto (R.I.P.)"

Now, woah, this was highly unexpected.  Matxura, not so much about them out there on the internet, but there is just enough.  When this track begins, it sounds like Spanish EBM/industrial punk, highly unusual even without the Spanish part.  You wonder if the LP's hit an interlude to skip over, or something of that nature, but suddenly it stops, the sounds stretch, a bizarre electronic pattern appears and they suddenly slam into your face with electronic drums and blasting guitars.  The sheer oddity of it will be enough to keep your attention, trust us.  Surprisingly, it pretty much works.  Matxura have a playful sense of themselves, which is refreshing.  Seriously, to combine hc punk with what is essentially industrial gabber house is deserving of praise simply on concept alone.  The few tracks on their Facebook page are sick.  If these guys keep doing what they're doing and perhaps get a little more serious, they'd probably end up pretty solid.  Highly unusual, and that's from someone who's heard practically every genre mash-up and failure you could think of.  Matxura Official Facebook  Score: 4 / 5

12. Bastards' Assault - "Bastards' Assault"

Now here are some dudes who just sound like they've been around awhile, and also look the part, no offense, that's meant as a compliment.  As soon as their S/T track begins, there's a clear sense of experience.  The sound quality is filthy, yet with enough production it doesn't face any of the issues we mentioned above already.  It's typical in every sense of the word, sure, but their experience makes up for all of that, solidly.  Simply put, these guys can wear Harmony Corruption-era Napalm Death shirts proudly, because they were likely alive then, or at least old enough to appreciate it at the time.  Imagine that, such things still exist.  Their rally cries are covered in alcohol and snuff, their faces with real pit bruises, at least one of them hasn't worn shirts in twenty years, chicks dig them and sing along (see their Facebook page), and their fingers are covered with callouses for various reasons, some of which we won't mention here.  If the solo doesn't give you an indication of their experience, not sure what else will.  What it lacks in creativity it makes up for in pure gumption, old school gumption of the "we could learn something from these guys" type.  Bastards' Assault Official Facebook  Score: 4 / 5

13. Hil Aiari - "Negar Engingo Dute"

Coming from Zalla, Hil Aiari are easily the highest level of production on this LP so far (but not the last, trust us).  In fact, after all the vomit we covered ourselves in, willingly, with the above tracks, these guys come off at first like Blink 182 at a crust punk squat party, and you know what would happen if that guest appearance ever occurred in reality.  But, give it a few seconds and it sinks in with a different flavor and that bad taste is washed down quickly enough, just swallow and forget it.  Though Hil Airai plays a highly-refined type of hc punk, they do it with a deep sense of commitment and energy that ends up saving it in the end.  Hey, we can take high production around here, don't think we're so pungent, it's fine, but punk by its very nature can be fickle with production, too much and it comes off as college prep instead of high school dropout.  But by the time this track is over, you're more than glad it was present.  The concept of production is soon forgotten and your fist pumps in the air, yet again, regardless of class.  Hil Aiari Official Facebook  Score: 3.5 / 5

14. Dejadeath - "Police Bastard (Doom)"

Holy shit, yeah, now these guys, woah, uh oh.  DIY as fak and born from the scum of the earth, once this track starts you know exactly what they're about, "the metal".  Specifically "the death metal", as they are billed, but clearly with blackened thrash elements, Dejadeath come from Barcelona, and they easily fill out the "destroy all that lives" part of this LP with their crusty slab of filth.  Their Facebook page features only one band photo we could find, otherwise it's filled with bizarre mash-up images cut from various sources that is at once Spanish as it is DIY underground stank.  Some of the weirdest art we've ever seen, and quite titillating for some reason, and the sound essentially encapsulates what they look like.  Gory, bizarre, and God awfully addicting, that sort of thing you just can't help but look at, those bodies on the side of the road, that fire burning down that building, that schizophrenic having a psychotic break about Satan in the middle of the mall, all of that, is what this sounds like.  Beautifully corrupt is the phrase.  Dejadeath Official Facebook  Score: 5 / 5

15. Erantzun - "Asesinos!!"

Here's another band you'll be lucky to find, at all, on the internet.  How in the world Filferro Records found some of these guys is only possible via the fact they're based in Spain and probably live right down the street, because this band's presence is thin, at best.  They're so punk they use Last.fm for "promotion".  They're so punk even punks don't know about them.  They're also so punk everything they touch is a mess.  "Murderers!!" doesn't even give you a chance to comprehend where it's going or what it's doing, but not in the best of ways, either.  A quick rallying shout-down and it's a go with whirlwind chords and incessant drumming, along with vocals delivered at such a speed it sounds like the singer is completely missing syllables.  Short break, a slide, and then it degrades again, eventually falling to pieces right in front of you, except you realize you went down with it.  It's a very short amount of space to grasp these guys at a little over a minute, but based on some live videos these guys are about speed and wrecking shit, but not really with any sort of reason as this tracks shows, at least.  Erantzun Official Last.fm  Score: 3 / 5

16. Crash - "Arde Comisaria"

This appears to translate as "burn the commissioner", which suggests the Spanish government really is a symbolic punk target over there, if not eventually a literal target, if it hasn't already happened in some capacity.  Crash is another one that was difficult to find, and since their name isn't exactly purely original we're not even sure if we did, but then again we're skilled so it's most likely yes.  They're actually quite similar to the one we just scoped, Erantzun, though perhaps more angry.  So angry the vocalist sounds like he had a stoma put in because of it years ago.  Where they excel over the other is a more concise presence.  That anger goes straight through the guitars, the drums, all of it, with a short break in the middle and a solo to lead to ending as it started, fast and loud.  Strangely the bass cuts out near the end and it was kind of a drag in comparison to the burst effect of the rest of it, but luckily it's back in there for the final slam.  Crash Official Site  Score: 4 / 5

17. Malnacidos - "Lameculos de la Ley"

No idea what any of these words mean, so we'll hope it means something important to these guys, since their Spanish rally cries make you want to go to school again so you know.  Spanish as a Second Language anyone?  Come along to learn along with Deaf Sparrow?  Considering some of what we've just heard, these guys are a welcome addition on this already sick comp.  If the skilled chord work at the opening doesn't give you an indication, let's get back to those rally cries we opened this track review with.  Distinctly Spanish punk, plain and simple is the way to define them.  Malnacidos have the attitude, they have the look, and they certainly have the sound.  Blistering solos carry several sections of this track, but those vocals, mmm mmm, you can feel the camaraderie there, enough to make you squat your life away in Barcelona and pretend you were Spanish punk all along, even if it's clear no one's ever going to believe your lies.  "Heyyyyy, wait a minute, you just read that Deaf Sparrow comp review, didn't you..."  Malnacidos Official Facebook  Score: 4.5 / 5

18. Zombi Pujol - "Intercanviables"

We were bound to get to the goofballs in this LP (remember, we mentioned it earlier), there had to be at least one, and here they are.  Why must there always be one punk  band like this on any punk comp, seriously?  Must there always be one group that thinks they can joke around and still be punk?  Zombi Pujol have a lot more presence than some of the bands on here, but they come off too much Descendants, too little Inepsy.  And they look kind of old, like in the wrong way, like a bunch of tired men, tired of their wives, probably their jobs, who decided to hook up and be "punk" for a spell until they got tired of that.  In comparison to some of the underground obliteration in previous tracks, these guys are perhaps a bit too playful for their own good in this compilation.  The, ughhhhh, clean chord breakdown in the middle and babble singing gets old quicker than the song itself, which is only a minute four.  The bass almost falls behind the guitars a few times, and after the middle WTF it takes a circular route and does the same thing at the end it opened with, but that really wasn't what you wanted to hear in the first place.  Weakest track on this LP, hands down, but the mean guitars keep it from dropping below an average score.  Zombi Pujol  Official Facebook  Score: 3 / 5

19. Metralleta - "Cucarachas"

Don't worry about the last one, because Metralleta is here to save you.  Pretty sure the name itself means "submachine gun", and it just has to be that once you listen to it.  They're so obscure we had to screencap a video on Youtube to source a picture of them.  They also check off the "need a song about cockroaches" box for this comp since that's really one of two words most speakers of English with no background in Spanish know.  And hey, one of them is apparently in prison right now, so that let's you know these guys are one of the punkest acts in this entire list.  And they're angry, angry to the point of no return, which this video proves easily.  Plus, they've got the sound of crust infused in there with guttural drums, just as we like it.  Screaming, slamming, burning, shooting, looting, that's about what this song sounds like, symbolically.  Tear it up.  Metralleta Official Site  Score: 4.5 / 5

20. Dissäpte - "Invisibilitat"

For a song about invisibility, these hardcore freaks from Barcelona certainly aren't hiding from anyone, and they've got more than enough energy to back it up live, where we had to source a pic of them just like the guys directly above.  These guys are really one of two hardest acts in this entire LP, and they're put at a good position in the line-up.  And for a Spanish band, these guys could easily pull off pretending they were from Boston, if we want to be cliche with our references.  But, seriously, for reals, these guys are as street hardcore classique as the best of them.  Feet in the air, straight to some faces, fists into a few mouths, blood down the gullet, roaring until the cops come and send them back overseas.  All the instruments are at practically the perfect level for undergroundness with a layer of street mud over it, but just enough, not too much, enough to get dirty but yet let it stick on there for a few days before you scrape it off.  That slam action at the end there with a crowd of screaming demons is just what this LP needed, ah yes.  Dissäpte Official Bandcamp  Score: 5 / 5

21. Adrenalized - "No Red Helmets (A.C.A.B.)"

Now, these guys have about as many fans as all the previous band combined, which might actually be literally true, but even then they're still way below our standard for "will not review, too mainstream" (way under 10K fans).  If the acronym doesn't ring a bell, these guys don't like cops, so they play fast in order to get the hell out of there should they ever arrive because of the damage they've wrought.  Further, the first part of the song title refers to the red helmets worn, at times, by Spanish riot police, and that's about what it would take to get yourself out of a Adrenalized show, helmets and batons.  These guys are juiced to the eyeballs and spraying PCP from out of their pupils all over you, GWAR style, and it sinks right into your spiked jacket, cut-up jeans, and then into your blood, but by the time you realize what's happened you're already arrested, straight-jacketed, and shot-up with Haldol, and Adrenalized are on to the next show and their next victim.  A fine ender for this LP, but for some reason it wasn't the last song...  Adrenalized Official Facebook  Score: 4.5 / 5

22. Kike Suárez & La Desbandad - "Guardia Civil (Radiohead)"

Really, Adrenalized was a fine ending for this comp, but Filferro felt the need to add this one on here as an outro, of sorts.  It's an acoustic cover of Radiohead's "Karma Police" with some Spanish flare by means of brass.  Kike Suárez has a rather broad history as a musician, music critic, and singer, among other things, including some work with Rolling Stone (the Spanish-language version).  This is apparently one of his side-projects, but due to our lack of connection to popular Spanish music culture, we're not going to pretend we know his importance on here.  The sudden skip from hardcore to acoustic, regardless of what cover it is, is disconcerting, but perhaps there's more meaning to it than we understand.  We're going to leave this one unscored, simply because it's so different from the rest of Ball de Bastons / Makil Dantza, in addition to being the longest track.  From a general standpoint, it's played quite well, but with the rest of the trash and bash on this comp it would have been best, in our opinion, to let it end at track 21, end it quick, with a punch to the face coming out of nowhere and bruises that need to heal.  The intentions here seem pretty clear, minus any cultural significance, but we'd rather let it be after we were all pumped up.  Regardless, this is the best comp we've received thus far on Deaf Sparrow, excellent stuff, but sadly only few copies remain.

 

Written by Stanley Stepanic