ReviewsIntranced – Muerte y Metal (High Roller Records)

Intranced – Muerte y Metal (High Roller Records)

Originating as a Los Angeles-based three-piece outfit in 2022, Intranced has since expanded to a quartet with familiar players in the scene if you’ve been an active follower of heavy metal. Guitarist Fili Bibiano also plays in Fortress and used to be in Witherfall, while vocalist James Paul Luna was a part of Holy Grail and White Wizzard. One EP and a follow-up single later, High Roller Records came calling and we have the debut album for Muerte y Metal – and for those who love an infectious mix of 70s based hard rock next to NWOBHM (and Spanish) prog/rock acts, these ten songs will go down smooth as your favorite beverage. The combination of Spanish and English sung tracks also adds wider interest, as the power chords, intuitive bass/drum syncopation, plus versatile melodies elevate fists high, followers at the ready for the next tremendous hook to fall from the sky.

Right away through opener “Reyes De Las Tinieblas” all aspects of the quartet’s style come into focus: the slightly hard charging bass / drum work of Nico Staub and Ben Richardson, the Michael Schenker meets Judas Priest rhythms and ripping solo from Fili, as well as the passionate, sinister pipes of James developing dynamic appeal from the bluesy verses through the soaring chorus. Elsewhere UFO/Thin Lizzy-like harmonies or groovy transitions spring forth for “Switchblade” and “Passionate Pretender”, the latter featuring a lot of playful stop/ start open parts that all three musicians to improvise within, James hitting some upper register aspects of Rob Halford or Robert Plant in their prime. You almost feel like you could close your eyes and transport yourself back to the 1975-1983 development of European, US, and Spanish heavy music – given a brighter sound through the tools in modern recording technology. Enjoy the ‘oh…… oh!’ background vocals that enhance the crisp, semi-classical sweeps during “Fantasy”, then be mesmerized by the longer, reflective ballad “See You on the Other Side” that pays homage to the quality works of The Scorpions, who knew how to capture tenderness while never sacrificing necessary power passages in epic form.

In two short years, Intranced have been making a solid name for themselves on the West Coast and appear poised to take on the world through Muerte y Metal. Great players with ideal depth in a variety of hard rock/metal styles, this appears to be a healthy outfit ready to take on the world because of solid principles executed to the highest degree.

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