Consistencey is one thing, but it’s a rarity when a band is able to continuously top itself over the span of multiple releases. Peru’s Reino Ermitaño are one such beast and have released not only their finest album to date, ‘Veneración del Fuego’, but they have released an album that should—provided that it’s not criminally overlooked—trudge its way to the top of many year end lists.
For the uninitiated, Reino Ermitaño practice a heavy, raw, groove-laden form of psychedelic doom that is as unique as it is infectious. Much of the album’s catchiness can be attributed to not only solid songwriting, but to the killer riffing and guitar tone courtesy of newcomer, Eloy Arturo, and the engaging vocal melodies of Tania Duarte who is somehow able to elevate her vocal performances with each successive release. For non-Spanish speakers the fact that Duarte sings in her native Spanish is not problematic and serves to accentuate her voice, the vocal melodies, and contributes deeper to the mystical aura of the album as a whole.
Production-wise the album is near flawless and each instrument is clear, distinct, and mixed perfectly. The guitars roar with a gritty tone while riding atop the thunderous heft of Marcos Coifman’s basslines. While Reino Ermitaño has always been experimental, the band has further broadened their musical palette by incorporating even more instruments into their repertoire such as Andean harp—an essential element for the quieter moments of album standout “Sangre India”—Moog synthesizer, flute, and violin, among others. The band’s masterful inclusion of atypical instrumentation not only separates the band from the herd, but it also serves to firmly establish their identity as a uniquely Peruvian doom band.
‘Veneración del Fuego’ is a solid album from beginning to end and each track is a beguiling, atmospheric journey. Despite the consistent, high quality songwriting, “Sangre India” stands out above the rest of the tracks as an album highlight by containing not only the album’s heaviest and catchiest moments, but also some of the most serene moments as well. When the song is in full swing the bass pulses and the drums really drive the song forward under the spell of Tania’s bewitching vocals.
2012 has stood witness to essential releases from two unique, female-fronted doom bands, first with Uzala’s excellent self-titled debut and subsequent ‘Cataract/Death Masque’ single, and now Reino Ermitaño’s ‘Veneración del Fuego’. All of Reino Ermitaño’s releases are highly recommended, but the band has surpassed all of their previous efforts with ‘Veneración del Fuego’.Highly recommended and essential listening…
Words: Steve Miller