Review Summary: Too much mediocrity and tiresome musicianship results in a poor performance for De La Tierra. Perhaps Kisser should stick to Sepultura.
For the first one and a half minutes, De La Tierra
sounds very promising indeed. Haunting guitar work which strongly resembles that of Sepultura's earliest material, invigorating bass leads and a slight nod to the tribal grooves of Soulfly, and that's really all you need to understand the level of musical virtuosity which has gone into Andreas Kisser's latest side project, De La Tierra. However, from that point on, things go swiftly downhill.
The first thing which instantly marks De La Tierra
as a below average album is the vocals. The vocals are sung entirely in the band's native Spanish (bred from all corners of Latin America), as is each song title, but that still doesn't take away from the fact that, especially when compared to the instrumental performance, they come across as dull and off tune all too often. This is partly the reason why “D.L.T.” (AKA the album's intro) is the best track on the album, because there are no vocals, so the other members of the band are allowed to let rip with their respective performances. Yet when the groovy instrumental performance and the vocals collaborate, the result fails miserably and is almost a complete mess. You could pick any song and realise this, but the songs which seem to be affected the most are actually the ones in the first half of the album. Songs such as “Somos Uno” and its monotonous successor “Rostros” simply don't provide the excitement or musical eccentricity that listeners usually look for, especially for those who are expecting a sound not too far away from Soulfly or mid 90s-era Sepultura. It gets to the point where the vocalist attempts to harmonize his voice with Andreas Kisser's guitar work, and despite the obvious effort going into such a performance, it proves disappointingly bad.
That said, the one thing that does manage to stick out like a sore thumb (in a good way) is Andreas Kisser's involvement with the band. Naturally, Kisser only provides the main riffs and solos, but thankfully they aren't always tiresome or weak. Despite the songs themselves failing to step out of stagnation, Kisser manages to use his instrumental magic and craft some excellent albeit predictable guitar work. On its own, the guitar work sounds even better than as part of the rest of the rhythm section, but the halfway point of songs such as obvious album highlight “San Asesino” and equally as sharp “Fuera” really remind you of Sepultura's better musical moments. The solos and riffs do become a bit repetitive towards the end, of course, and this is where people will be wanting to reach for the nearest Sepultura album and play that instead of this.
Unfortunately for the band, there are too many moments where the instruments simply don't flow together as well as they should. It's probably because of how awkwardly each song is structured. Most of the songs here seem to adopt the same exhaustive groove during the verse parts, leaving the bridge and chorus to become instantly tiresome when the band adopt a harmonic approach to their sound. It should work, but it doesn't. Instead, it grates at the listener's ears and at points, such as the terrible “Detonar”, is so bad that it makes you forget about Kisser's undeniable instrumental talent. There's no exhilirating musicianship on display here at all, and rarely does the instrumentation explode, save for the beginning of album closer "Cosmonauta Quechua". Even when considering that this album is, at best, a half-hearted exercise in fusing groove metal with tribal music, it's hard to be the least bit impressed.
De La Tierra
is below average, however much you want to like it simply because of Andreas Kisser's involvement. There are too many obvious flaws here for the band's debut album to be any better than it already is, and even fans of Sepultura or Soulfly will likely shake their heads in disappointment. What's really frustrating though is how the music never flows seamlessly, instead making for an exhaustive and tiresome general sound which proves De La Tierra as nothing more than a half-hearted side project. If anyone is looking for musical innovation from Andreas Kisser, you won't find it here, that's for sure.