Muro are a metal institution in their native Spain, having formed as long ago as 1981 in Madrid. Not surprisingly, then, given their vintage, they purvey a sturdily traditional form of heavy metal on their new album, El Cuarto Jinete.
Simple – but not simplistic – riffs, catchy solos and singalong choruses (all in Spanish mind) are the order of the day, all topped off by the characterful voice of now-departed vocalist Silver. It’s splendid stuff to be sure; kind of like an Iberian Manowar shorn of the pretension and silliness, but very much full of the sort of memorable refrains Joey DeMaio and company used to deal in in their eighties glory days.
Although credited as being the band that brought speed metal to Spain, the band rarely get above a brisk gallop these days, but there’s still plenty of excitement to be found within the grooves of ECJ. Hermanos de Sangre is a pounding exposition of true metal dynamics, whilst best track Sobrevivir is remarkably sophisticated for a band so deeply entrenched in the denim and leather mystique of eighties metal.
Honorable ramps up the speed a bit, with Lapi’s kick drums getting a good working over; But increased speed doesn’t mean decreased melody, and the track features a strong chorus and some fine Wolf Hoffman-style guitar work from guitarist Largo. Next track Muero Por Ti is more melodic – commercial, even – and features some nice bass from Julito, and highlights the fact that there really isn’t any area of the trad metal canon that this band doesn’t have covered.
In fact you could say they can do it all, but unfortunately somebody got there before them in every case, but that needn’t be a setback in the traditional metal arena. Muro aren’t going to win any medals for originality with this album, that much is self evident on an even cursory listen to the record, but their commitment to the cause is absolutely unquestionable; That they’ve been doing this for thirty five years plus is surely worthy of congratulation, and frankly if they can keep coming up with enjoyable slices of true metal like El Cuarto Jinete for another three and a half decades then all power to them.