La Armada - La Armada

This is the self-titled record from Chicago based hardcore outfit La Armada - a refreshingly retrospective looking, old-school hardcore band that seem to enjoy wearing their influences on their collective sleeve. From what I can find out about the band, they have been going for a good decade - and are actually from the Dominican Republic, singing the vast majority in their native tongue. It's only a shame I have no translation notes to go with this rather lovely sounding record.

If you think old school NYHC, the metal leanings of the Cro-Mags, the production values on some of the newer Raised Fist records and the occasional need to nick some Slayer ideas (or anything from Victory Records about 6 years ago if you fancy being cynical) you're left with the crossover sound that this lot pedal. It's quite one paced stuff - massively drum led, abrasive screams and the occasional melancholy build up (with a plethora of film quotes in there for good measure), with a decent ability to get a groove going and keeping things memorable. Standout track, mid-way through this 11 track affair - Complice - seems to employ the band's whole armoury - everything I have just listed, with a lovely 1980s thrash vibe for good measure.

Often, when you listen to truly exceptional foreign language hardcore you can grasp a sense of political desperation and that adds much to the effect - La Armada don't deliver that - so you're left wandering quite what they are singing about, but it seems to me that this band are about playing music that is a nod to the bands that they grew up with. There's nothing here you won't hear by perusing bands from 20 years ago on Spotify, but the amalgamation of styles on offer give you bite size chunks of lovely parts of the CD collection you have that is gathering dust over there on those shelves.