If you crave guitar sounds that are heavier than a 10-course meal at your grandma’s house or faster than your buddies when the check arrives and it’s time to pay, we got you covered. Here are some of the brightest bands playing music that steer toward the harder side of the musical spectrum. They not only play a brand of exciting and well-executed music, they’re also making waves outside their borders, including getting props from the international press, touring the U.S. and Europe, and starring in amazing niche festivals like the Latino Punk Fest in NY.
Without further ado, here they are, in all their dB smashing glory.
I’ve written about Cardiel before, but they’re worth mentioning again because few bands rock as hard as this duo from Venezuela (now based in Mexico City). Both members of the band are not only prolific instrumentalists with a fanatical way of riffing, they’re also sound engineers of the highest order, which might explain why their sound is just so impressive. Punk as shit, even when they play their reggae numbers.
A veritable supergroup featuring members from some of the finest punk bands to come out of the Mexican scene in the past few years. While there’s plenty of noisy guitars and frenetic rhythms in their new, self-titled album, they employ a refined deathrock vocabulary in their music without going full-on goth, so it’s only a bit mopey before slamming you headfirst into the pit.
While not reaching a level of concept and discourse of the headier projects in internet land, Downtown Boys are many things on paper: a sax-strangling, dual vocal, bilingual act with high doses of social and political content. Also, (as with their offshoot Malportado Kids), they’re pretty much the most fun you can have listening to music nowadays.
The trio are touring Europe as you read this, playing to crowds eager for slow (but not too slow) post-rock full of heavy riffs and head-banging moments. The band is part of the Los Grises collective and have been instrumental in getting the word out about Mexico’s new wave of riff worshippers.
Colombian punks subscribe to the “no future” ethos of so many punks from the classic era, but above all they also share their mentors’ affinity for memorable songs. This way, their messages and fun factor are elevated by their snarling, badly-played delivery.
At this year’s Grises Fest, Tijuana’s Calafia Puta made quite an impression with their set (who knew so many unpredictable things could happen in under 30 minutes?). Their garage-y music will make you feel like a grinning child with too much sugar in his system.
There’s no other band in the world that sounds like La Misma, punk or otherwise. Their singer delivers lyrics in Portuguese, their music is fast and feedback-drenched, but also catchy as fuck. They are unique and punk as hell because of all of this.
The Austin-based band sing entirely in Spanish and their music is largely informed by UK punk from the eighties. They still make for very catchy music with tons of energy and memorable moments. Not only are they keeping the flame alive, they’re also etching the torch with some important messages.
Vinnum Sabbathi – slow as snails in line at the DMV, space-themed and heavy as Jupiter – are one of the best doom bands on the planet. It’s not a bad accomplishment for a group of people whose average age is 23. Listening to their highly evocative music (thanks to some tasty samples from NASA missions and lectures by sci-fi author Isaac Asimov) will make you feel as though gravity doesn’t matter anymore.
This black metal band, made up of Mexican metal scene veterans, have released what could well be the best LatAm black metal in recent memory. Darkness Beyond is a slab of creeping, atmospheric and…well, dark music that nods to classic metal riffs and styles. It’s inspired.