Twenty-three years have passed since Brujeria released their debut album, Matando Gueros, and, briefly, brought an endearing sense of mysterious, amoral menace to a rapidly evolving death metal and grindcore scene.
The band’s masks (both real and metaphorical) have long since been removed and most people are well aware that Napalm Death’s Shane Embury and Carcass’s Jeff Walker are among the extreme metal notables involved.
Luckily, Brujeria have always been a novelty with musical substance to back up all that nonsense about Satanic Mexican drug lords, and Pocho Aztlan more than compensates for the 16-year gap since the obnoxious crew’s last album, Brujerizmo. The absence of former members Dino Cazares and Billy Gould has made little difference to the band’s sound; this is nasty, swaggering, loose-limbed death metal with shades of Max-era Sepultura and occasional bursts of punk rock mischief, most notably on a fittingly chaotic cover of Dead Kennedys’ California Über Alles. Fast, furious, filthy and much more fun than being kidnapped by ultra-violent cocaine smugglers. A warped and welcome return.