Review Summary: Getting lost in the desert.
After the sudden demise of stoner giants Kyuss in late 1995, both record labels and fans started searching for different bands to fill the void. Of course, there were still some of the main acts like Fu Manchu, Fatso Jetson, as well as Monster Magnet or Clutch, who were releasing some of their best work, however, at that point, none of these matched the success or the exposure Kyuss received. Subsequently, this look-out made room for several bands from different corners of the world to make a name for themselves.
Among the new names, Buenos Aires-based Los Natas (then only Natas) have rapidly risen as the next Kyuss with their debut, Delmar
. There was a lot of hype in the nostalgic stoner circles and even though the music is heavily indebted in the aforementioned desert heroes', these guys don't fail to deliver. They have muddy, bulldozer riffs, but they also know when to tone down and let the dry, desert atmosphere develop.
The songs are all cut from the same cloth, but Los Natas took the classic formula and reworked it enough to have a slight personality of their own. Opener 'Samurai' slowly builds with the help of a deep, groovy bass line and echoed guitar leads, transforming itself into a heavy, raw tune. The vocals, while not the most polished, are more layered than Garcia's and as melodic, suiting the music very well. Also, the progressive centerpiece, 'Soma', gradually grows in intensity from extended, eerie jamming to a fast, hard hitting finale. Even though the structures are a bit rough at edges, especially when transiting from one segment to another, Los Natas show a lot of potential that was just starting to be put to good use.
Other highlights include the high octane '1980', a stoner punk ditty in the style of Kyuss' '100°' off Welcome To Sky Valley
. It's catchy stuff that doesn't let the similarities cut the fun. At the same time, 'Trilogia' and 'Alberto Migré', two moody numbers, offer some of the most beautiful moments on Delmar
: the former begins with a lovely mellow part, followed by a tribal segment constantly threatening to burst. Towards the end, it finally takes off for a short amount of time, only to return to the main theme. 'Alberto Migré', on the other hand, is steadier, feeling more like a loose, sunset desert jam, with some quiet vocals interspersed, nicely wrapping up the whole adventure. These subtle moments are somehow more rewarding and interesting, but the entire record is made of solid tracks, even if it doesn't break any new grounds.
In the end, Delmar
was overshadowed by the band's next effort, Ciudad De Brahman
, which saw them truly carving a path of their own. Also, when Man's Ruin Records went down at the dawn of the new millennium, this album became almost extinct, inevitably rising its value. Although many have found it to be a stoner classic, there were several skeptics who dismissed it as just another Kyuss clone. As a result, Delmar
became an interesting, rare gem that's often overlooked and only those who had the patience have gotten to the core of it. The high musical similarities still cause bipolar reactions, so anyone willing to give this a spin will either be converted or turned off.