The Tranquilino Brothers. No, it’s not the name of a couple of ne’er-do-wells bandidos, but instead, it’s the two (kinda) ne’er-do-wells members of México‘s loud outfit, Yokozuna. Their newest album, Quiero Venganza, presents a third member. Sorta.
You see, the one thing I noticed when I heard this band back when ‘Árbol’ was released (our review) was that the chunky, crunchy distortion felt like a third member for this band; a sort of Holy Spirit which added another layer to the already heavy sound of the band. Then take into account the politically-charged video for ‘Quiero Venganza‘ and you know they mean business. Then follow this with a quote by a certain Phil Anselmo exulting their fierce sound (and creativity) and you get a very high bar set for the brothers to clear on their jump, with only this album to push the upwards.
And that they do.
With a eerie singalong, ‘Quiero Venganza’ kickstarts the proceeding. A distorted guitar lick is a taste of things to come, still harmonious but only to be cranked up to an impossibly high level of distortion (think Jerry Cantrell but with more overdrive). Some decidedly strong drumming keeps the pace steady (a watermark to all Yokozuna tracks.) ‘Árbol’ has a very dirty sound, slightly grimy but not overtly so to lose track of what is being preached by the siblings.
The pace slows down with ‘Animal’ and even if that sweet, meth-like distortion is now a little more mellow, the ethereal lashings cracks the skin. Slightly psychedelic, this one. ‘Flecha’ is Quiero Venganza‘s “mosh pit moment”, an instrumental track that lasts less than two minutes; a relentless pace guarded by some nifty harmonica for the hell-billy enthusiast.
Now, for all the love we have for heavily distorted guitars, ‘Sangre llama sangre’ is the time for the drums to take the limelight. Like the steps of a rather cross Colossus, José Antonio Tranquilino takes the kit for a ride. ‘Ola’ is Yokozuna at their punkiest, probably just surfing the waves they’ve created with their previous tracks.
Do you miss grunge? I do and ‘Prometea’ is like a trip to late ’93, where flannel was the uniform of choice and sludgy sounds were the weapon of choice. Mind, the pace is faster here, so the nostalgia trip is short lived but the amount of noise is quite satisfactory.
There’s a twist, an interesting, acoustic one at the end of Quiero Venganza. ‘Fluoxetina’, an 8 minute track that is a revelation and the logical bookend to Quiero Venganza. ‘Fluoxetina’ shows that although Yokozuna do love stomping the ears of the devoted ones, they also have a bit of range. The song is melancholic, a bit like the moment of peace/regret you have after a very angry spell. We’ve all been there.
While not noodling along with some interesting bands (like Joe Volume and Xavier), Yokozuna go into a cave and fiddle with notes, loud pedals and drumsticks. If some of the political tones in these tracks (some subtle, others less so) mean to give a jolt to the audience, they sure have earned the right to put a “Mission Accomplished” banner in the Yokozunacave. Get these guys to play with Wet Nuns. Match made in Hell and we will all be better for it.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López