Lupara - _Lupara_
(Crash Music, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (8 out of 10)
It's a statement that will likely paint me as something of a conservative prick, but if there's one thing that's truly provoked my ire about metal's new generation, it's the extent to which so many have "sissified" the music that's been sustaining me for the better part of seventeen years.

I'm not talking about bands no longer sporting loincloth with the same bullish bravado as Joey DeMaio. What gets my goat are those groups who can't resist drizzling their every song with a generous dose of post-emo wallowing and self-pity. You know the kind; the grunted verse building up to the Pet Shop Boys-esque chorus, during which said metal "god" shows The Kids that grown men (even ones covered in piercing and tattoos) can have feelings too, appealing in turn to every pitiless wimp lacking a sense of basic hygiene and the ability to lift anything heavier than a pencil.

Sadder still is that in search of an alternative -- once you remove black and death metal from the equitation -- choice few remain who can lay it down and mean it. Pantera are no more. Slayer stopped making good records in 1990, and for every Lamb of God (a band who, it should be mentioned again, are possibly one of the most vital metallic forces of current times), exist twenty others trying desperately to ape the tired droning of Trivium and Killswitch Engage.

Yet every once in a while, one can still be surprised. This year, in addition to the masterful _Sacrament_, we had Unearth's blistering _In the Eyes of Fire_. Now joining that record in the upper echelons of kicking ass, taking names and making you believe it without the need to resort to every cliché under the sun, is Lupara's debut.

Featuring Broken Hope's Jeremy Wagner on guitar duties, this effort oozes no-nonsense pugnacity from the moment that "Four Leaves War" snarls, snorts and grunts its way through the record's first three minutes. It's rough, raw and never remotely pretty, often leaning toward the extremity of Wagner's alma mater and at times even recalling the patented "redneck stomp" of Obituary. "No Pity on the Ants" is a perfect example of how effectively this approach can work, as an abrasive mid-tempo groove gives way to an unhinged guitar solo that screams old school death metal, before turning truly nasty with vocalist Noa Brady chanting "inside your guts are rotting". Elsewhere, "Today Is a Good Day to Die" unleashes a barrage of blastbeats as aurally devastating as the chainguns depicted on the album cover, while the soaring lead on "Silencing Angels" provides a brief but welcome respite amidst the pummelling.

That not every one of the record's eleven tracks carries quite the same memorable clout as the aforementioned should hardly be surprising. The brief break in "The Reflections That Bleed" is as catchy as a case of the crabs, while the rest of the song sounds strung together and awkward. But while Lupara still have some way to go before competing in the same ballpark as the likes of Lamb of God, their debut sees them rattling the gate with more authority than most.


(article published 10/11/2006)

7/12/2007 J Smit Lupara: Made in America
7/18/2005 A McKay Lupara: The Shotgun Approach
7/23/2005 J Smit 4.5 Lupara - Self Titled Demo 2005
12/26/2003 J Smit 4 Lupara - Advance Rough-Mix Demo
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