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Label: Evil Confrontation Records/Sure Shot Worx / Release date: 10th February 2023
I know it’s nine months after its official release, but I simply had to give this record a few spins and write a short review. What we have here is something quite unique and exotic, a doom/rock/70s proto metal band from Chile. The duo of Condados has been active since 2005, and El Camino de la Serpiente is the title for their third full-length record. As far as I am concerned it translates to ‘The Path of the Snake’?! It comes after their 2011 debut, A Painful Journey into Nihil and a sophomore 2017 follow-up, entitled The Tree of Death. In other words, we are dealing with two highly skilled and experienced musicians in Fernando Vidal (vocals & guitar) and Matias Moreno (drums & bass).
El Camino de la Serpiente contains 12 tracks of an incredible blend of sounds that generates intense emotions while listening to this album. Thus, one can hear some 70s heavy rock and proto heavy metal sounds, as well as some epic and authentic doom- and psych elements. All of the lyrics on El Camino de la Serpiente are delivered in their native Spanish language. It gives this extra interesting dimension and charm to their music, as one almost feels their unmistankenly South-American anger. Another thing that it quite obvious is that this duo is heavily inspired by the mighty Black Sabbath and esp. their early work.
The album starts with a lenghy instrumental intro before the first real midtempo track “Alma Podrida” takes over with some faster and more diverse sounds. The following three songs, namely; “El Diablo”, “Condados” and “Jinete Àcido” have few things in common; a mixture of stomping heavy rock, fast doom and skillful breaks. “Humo Negro”, (translates to ‘The black smoke’) takes us to the next round of typical 70s doom, with nice riff build-up, heavy and dark bass lines, and rather simple vocal lines. After this doom track follows “La Mano del Destino”, which is another dark composition, transparent bass lines, cool vocal parts and a pretty nice middle section break, bringing some new energy into the song. Another interesting track is “Tierra de Cementerio” (featuring the guest vocals of JAG from Acero Letal and Miserycore) and with this impressive guitar work, displaying the true nature of this album, being pretty varied in terms of influences and compositions. “Lucifer” is the album’s grand finale, a nice album closure with a new hint to mighty Black Sabbath.
Having in mind that this record is fully self-produced in the band’s own studio, and despite of the fact that vocals are sometimes a bit too low in the mix, overall the production and mastering part is quite good. They’ve definitely managed to capture the pure essence and a true spirit of the band. I know it’s not groundbreaking or the most innovative album, but the good thing is that there’s a pleasing looseness on El Camino de la Serpiente, many cool swagger moments matched with many potent riffs, packed into the 46-minute running time, and I was not bored at all. These guys clearly have a genuine love and passion for the material and that carries through in the music presented on El Camino de la Serpiente.
For additional info on this old-school & traditional heavy rock/doom duo from Chile go to https://condenadosdoom.bandcamp.com/album/el-camino-de-la-serpiente