Brutal Fest: Rocking around Cuba

For ten days the sound of electric guitars, drums and the voices of the best Cuban rock bands left their usual scenario in the capital’s Maxim Rock to flood the entire island, bringing in its wake thousands of lovers of hardcore / metal rock .

The bands Combat Noise, Escape, Tendencia, Chlover, Narbeleth, Cry Out For, Konflit and Mortuory, among others, played at squares of Pinar del Rio, Santa Clara, Camaguey and Holguin, taking to those cities the latest of their work but also the classics.

The fourth edition of Brutal Metal Fest has served to show good momentum within the genre in Cuba. That fact is also evidenced in the Maxim Rock this Sunday, when all foreign bands participating in the event will be in charge of wrapping up the Festival until next year.

This time accompanying local artists, there are bands from of six countries: Inhumate, France, Colemesis, of Costa Rica, Pariso, of England, Elizabeth, of Switzerland, Daggers, Belgium, and She’s Still Death, U.S., mostly cultivators of heavy metal, thrash, black and death metal.

So this year’s Festival, organized by the label Brutal Beatdown Records with the collaboration of the Cuban Rock Agency, maintains and expands the foreign presence, creating an opportunity for exchanges between Cuban and foreign bands.

The Brutal Fest, the only on the island with an international character, is a moment eagerly awaited by those who prefer the genre since its first edition, in 2008, when they gathered six thousand fans at the Salon Rosado de la Tropical in Havana, considered the Mecca of salsa in Cuba.

This rock boom in Cuba is the result of the efforts of artists and those who from the beginning supported the tougher variants of rock music in Cuba. The misguided implementation of cultural policies undertaken after 1959 limited and hindered the creation and consumption of rock, prejudices grounded in the country of origin of the genre and the predominant language in these productions.

During the ’60s to ’80s, the rock made in Cuba went through stages of a true copy of the foreign productions, but there was also a re-appropriation that would bring about a wider and diverse scenario that we can see today.

Durante las décadas del ‘60 al ‘80, el rock hecho en Cuba atravesó etapas de copia fiel a las producciones foráneas, pero también hubo una reapropiación que posibilitaría luego el panorama amplio y cualitativamente diverso que se observa hoy.

In the nineties resurfaced a creative movement which brought together various groups. The original productions have grown ever since. At the same time they have diversified styles: experimental rock, alternative, progressive, pop rock, fusion, punk, rock and acoustic, and with greater emphasis, heavy metal.
Although slowly and overcoming various constraints, the rock has been making itself a space within the Cuban music scene and apparently it is here to stay.

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