High Fighter Premiere “Blinders” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 27th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

high fighter

Hamburg-based purveyors of sludgy punishment High Fighter are getting ready to release their debut full-length, Scars and Crosses, via respected purveyor Svart Records on June 10. Like the 2014 EP that preceded it, The Goat Ritual (review here), the album mixes aggressive modern metal with heavy-riffing impulses, the vocals of frontwoman Mona Miluski switching fluidly between raspy screams, low growls and clean-sung choruses naturally, as on the track “Blinders,” for which the five-piece have a brand new video premiering today.

The song is an excellent choice to feature ahead of the album’s release, because it emphasizes the manic sensibility that the band is able to bring to their material. With guitarists Christian “Shi” Pappas and Ingwer Boysen tearing into thrashy riffs as bassist Constantin Wüst and drummer/backing vocalist Thomas Wildelau hold the course together, “Blinders” runs full-speed and seems to time its punch just right to land on the unsuspecting listener’s jaw. Even the video — three solid minutes of a dude walking angrily toward the camera, with various manipulations and so on — has this sense of tension that Miluski‘s quick-changing vocal approach shoves over the line between raucous and raging.

And, as noted, that rage comes accompanied by a fervent sense of melody, particularly in the chorus, which remains catchy and informs a structured feel despite how out of control other parts might seem. It’s something else to witness, so by all means, feel free to do that.

High Fighter recently announced tour dates for July with Earth Ship and Mammoth Storm, and you’ll find them (along with all the other upcoming live shows, including tonight’s), as well as a quote from Miluski giving some thematic insight into “Blinders,” under the video below.

Please enjoy:

High Fighter, “Blinders” official video

Mona Miluski on “Blinders”

Think this track perfectly represents one of the main issues we deal with on our debut record, Scars & Crosses. it’s about a dark past, about the wounds and scars of your soul that life may have given you. It’s about your inner demons, and especially people in society or in any relationships will find your scars as a bad attitude, a bad character. You often need to be a ‘Blinder,’ change yourself until you will be accepted, liked or loved. On this album we say no, having your scars is not bad character and you should not change yourself or try to ignore these scars until you’re “worth” being loved. Learn to also love those who have their scars, we all have them… These darkest days, moments and demons in life, your entire history — our scars engrave us — they belong to you as much as the good sides.

High Fighter live:
27.05 Stadtfest Bad Oldesloe
10.06 Hamburg, Album Release show – with Jucifer & The Moth
17.06 Würzburg – with The Midnight Ghost Train
18.06 Karlsruhe – with The Midnight Ghost Train
02.07 Stadtfest Mücheln

Album summer release tour with Earth Ship & Mammoth Storm:
22.07 Kiel, DE – Kieler Schaubude
23.07 Naaldwijk / Den Haag, NL – De Flatertheek
24.07 Le Havre, FR – Mac Daid’s
25.07 Nantes, FR – Le Ferrailleur
26.07 Köln, DE – Underground
27.07 Weinheim, DE – Cafe Central
28.07 Berlin, DE – Badehaus Szimpla
29.07 Erfurt, DE – From Hell
30.07 Hamburg, DE – Fundbureau

17.08 Summer Breeze Festival
02.09 MetallerGrillen
10.09 Open Air Fraureuth

High Fighter website

High Fighter on Thee Facebooks

Svart Records

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Virus Post “Rogue Fossil” Video; Memento Collider out June 3

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 24th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

virus (Photo by Trine and Kim)

Unless you plan to spend the rest of your morning/afternoon going through the animated works of Romanian artist Costin Chioreanu — beats working — I can almost completely guarantee that nothing else you watch will be of the particular weirdo ilk that Virus‘ “Rogue Fossil” video inhabits. The song comes from Memento Collider, which is the Norwegian trio’s fourth album and first in a half-decade, out June 3 via Karisma Records, and like Chioreanu‘s artwork accompanying it, “Rogue Fossil” isn’t quite like anything else out there, with its darkened swirl, vigilant sonic individuality and an angularity and catchiness to its hook that in most hands would be completely at odds and yet, for Virus, feels like home.

I was fortunate enough to see the band play last year and they closed with “Rogue Fossil.” The aforementioned hook was immediately recognizable on hearing it in the studio version with the new video, and while Virus aren’t necessarily beholden to one structure or anything else in their experimentalist metal, they are one of those bands you always know when you’re hearing. Doesn’t sound like anything else, must be Virus. I haven’t heard the entirety of Memento Collider yet, but if you’re unfamiliar with them, they’ve honed a kind of heavy progressive rock out of post-blackened atmospheres and they play it with jazzy fluidity. If that sounds all over the map, it should. That’s pretty clearly the whole idea when it comes to these guys.

Album info and preorder links follow the video below.


Virus, “Rogue Fossil” official video

In advance of the release of their fourth full-length, Memento Collider, Norwegian avant-garde rockers/recent Karisma Records signees, VIRUS, today issue the official new video accompaniment to the track “Rogue Fossil.”

The twisted, animated clip was created by renowned Romanian multi-media artist Costin Chioreanu, who says of his new creation for the pioneering experimental rockers, “I went beyond all my boundaries and I have a feeling I touched a bit of insanity. You know that it’s going to be something unique.” Having made his mark not only as a graphic artist, but also as a stage artist, musician, animator, and movie maker at a relatively young age, Chioreanu’s visual manifestation for VIRUS is the latest in a series of collaborations with artists from Karisma Records, and its sister label Dark Essence Records.

Set for release on Karisma Records on the 3rd of June, Memento Collider was recorded at the Amper Tone Studios in Oslo and includes a guest appearance from Voivod’s Dan Mongrain. It is, without a doubt, an album that demonstrates the true essence of progressive rock. To preorder Momento Collider on CD or vinyl go HERE. For digital orders, go HERE.

Virus is:
Czral – guitars, vocals
Plenum – bass
Einz – drums

Virus website

Virus on Thee Facebooks

Karisma Records website

Karisma Records on Thee Facebooks

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Green Dragon Posts Artwork Video for “Time for Now”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 23rd, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

green dragon time for now

Northern New Jersey-based trio Green Dragon released their latest single, Time for Now, on Record Store Day 2016 via Gloom Records/Gern Blandsten Records. It’s their first offering since their initial demo, titled Demo (review here), was issued in the waning hours of 2013. Not an impossibly long time, but still, it’s been a minute. Pressed to white or green vinyl , the Time for Now 7″ brings two new tracks, “Time for Now” and “Mercury is Heavy,” with the returning lineup of guitarist/vocalist Zack Kurland (Sweet Diesel), bassist Jennifer Klein (The Plungers) and drummer Nate Wilson (Devoid of Faith) proffering low-frills fuzz and pretense-free heavy grooves.

The recording, unsurprisingly, is an upgrade in professionalism from the demo, with Kurland following upbeat but still thick riffs that maybe betray some of the band’s roots in hardcore and punk, but still have those rounded Sabbathian edges tonally and in their execution. One of the things I’ve dug most about Green Dragon (formerly The Green Dragon) in the nearly four years since I first posted their video for “Downflame” is that they’re completely what-you-see-is-what-you-get. It’s friends getting together every now and again and rocking out. No agenda, no “we’re gonna take over the world” BS. Just a group of players writing songs for their own enjoyment and that of whoever else happens to encounter them. When you get that, and it’s genuine, there are few things as appealing.

I’ve called them a garage band in the past. I guess “Time for Now,” the lyrics to which bring a kind of carpe diem message, holds up on that to a certain extent, but the relative smoothing out of the sound on the 7″ gives it a different feel. You can make your own assessment, I know, but the vibe I got was slowdown Black Flag filtered through pre-grunge-era alt-rock. You can check out the artwork for the 7″ in the video below and order it at the link that follows that.

Hope you enjoy:

Green Dragon, “Time for Now” artwork video

Time for Now – A Side of Green Dragon s/t 7″ limited green vinyl Record Store Day edition and White vinyl on Gern Blandsten/Gloom Records. Featuring ex-members of Devoid Of Faith, Sweet Diesel, The Plungers, Monster X, Das Oath, Your Adversary.

Green Dragon on Bandcamp

Green Dragon website

Gern Blandsten Records

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Friday Full-Length: Dixie Witch, Into the Sun

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 20th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Dixie Witch, Into the Sun (2001)

I don’t think Texas heavy rock is what it is today without the groundwork that Austin’s Dixie Witch laid. I remember seeing them at Small Stone showcases at SXSW in the mid-’00s, and it was so clear whose town it was. When drummer/vocalist Trinidad Leal walked into Room 710, he owned the place. Nothing’s universal, of course, and Texas is huge, but do you get Mothership or Wo Fat without Dixie Witch paving the way? I don’t know. The trio of Leal, guitarist Clayton Mills and bassist Curt “CC” Christenson made their debut on John Perez of Solitude Aeturnus‘ vastly underrated Brainticket Records imprint, and would go on to sign to the aforementioned Small Stone by the time the follow-up, One Bird, Two Stones, arrived in 2003, reissuing Into the Sun that same year. Their songs of perservering through hard times and being on the road, blistering solos, thick grooves and Southern-without-caricature brand of rock would make them one of the quintessential Small Stone bands of their generation, kicking ass in the pre-social media age on songs that would become staples like the extended megagroover “Freewheel Rollin’,” “Into the Sun” itself and “Throwin’ Shapes.”

Like the best of their contemporaries, Dixie Witch recalled classic heavy rock and roll without sounding anything other than modern. A full 15 years later, if you sent me Into the Sun to review, I’d in no way call it dated. I’d call it awesome, from the title-track at the outset down to the cover of Joe Walsh‘s “The Bomber,” which closes. The soul and the force they put into these tracks — doubly impressive on a debut — would serve as a defining moment for everything they did after, whether it was One Bird, Two Stones, 2006’s Smoke and Mirrors or their 2011 last-LP-to-date (one never knows), Let it Roll (review here), and “Thunderfoot”‘s whiskey-drinking ways, trippy solo and fervent crash makes a great model to follow. That’s not to say the band didn’t grow during their tenure — Smoke and Mirrors was expansive and Let it Roll showed just how tightly honed their songwriting was, even though Mills had left the band — just that Into the Sun set the tone that Dixie Witch would build on as they moved through the decade that followed.

They were underrated at the time, but as a new generation of heavy rockers have come up in the last five or six years, Dixie Witch have been off the touring circuit. Guitarist Joshua “JT” Todd Smith, who replaced Mills for Let it Roll, seems to have relinquished his position to its former holder, and through 2015 and up to this March, Dixie Witch have done sparse live shows. Seems like an act ripe for a triumphant comeback, but of course Leal is touring and playing with Honky now as well, so what if anything might be in the cards for Dixie Witch is anyone’s best guess. But man, they were incredible on stage, and Into the Sun continues to hold up, as I expect it will into perpetuity.

Hope you enjoy.

The Patient Mrs. has been in London since last Sunday. She took a group of some of her students over on a study tour — my wife is a college professor — and will return next Wednesday. It probably would’ve been worse being home alone this week if I hadn’t spent so much time in traffic. 90 minutes to work every morning, except yesterday when it was 100, and at least another hour and a half to get home afterwards. Punishing. By the time I’ve gotten home, I’ve been too exhausted to be lonely. And well, being at work is what it is anyway. It’s not like that’s time otherwise spent hanging out. Not to say I don’t miss her, because I do very much. Fortunately, this trip is nowhere near as long as when she went to Greece for a month two years ago.

But yeah, just kind of a slog to get through the days this week. I knew I was tired when that Radio Moscow giveaway went up yesterday with the wrong venue address. I corrected it, and those things happen, but for me it’s usually a sign I’m on my ass. Get exhausted, get sloppy. I don’t think I’m the only one in the universe.

Good news is I’ve got a friend coming north to chill this weekend and I’ve got a day or two to get some errands done — air conditioners need to go in windows, dog food needs purchasing, some laundry, etc. — and the weather isn’t supposed to be shit here in the Commonwealth, so I should be vaguely restored by the time Monday comes back around and the bullshit parade begins anew. To offset that, I’ve got a pretty busy week in store.

Monday, I might have a Black Moon Circle track premiere from their new EP? Not sure yet, but I’m trying to work it out. Also a King Buffalo track stream. Tuesday a full stream of the new Farflung. Also going to try to fit in reviews for Electric CitizenEarthless/Harsh Toke and Hijo de la Tormenta, and there’s already a ton of news I’m behind on and a couple new videos to get up as well, so yeah, I expect a barrage. Anyone notice yesterday was seven posts? Today wound up being seven too. Wednesday was six. Not complaining, it’s just a lot to keep up with.

Sometimes as a result a venue that’s in Long Beach gets mixed up with the same venue in North Hollywood. It happens. Pretty sure no one notices but me anyway. Oh, and Albatross Overdrive. They noticed.

I hope you have a great and safe weekend. I’m going to try to do the same and not throw out my back dealing with that AC. Please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Apostle of Solitude Premiere “Luna” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 19th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

apostle of solitude

Just before the band starts playing, as he and fellow guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak are turning their guitars, Apostle of Solitude‘s Chuck Brown clues in the crowd as to what the song “Luna” is all about. He says, “This song goes out to a friend who you guys do not know and really it does not matter. Stay away from those drugs, kids.” BrownJaniak, then-bassist Dan Davidson (since replaced by Mike Naish, also of Astral Mass) and drummer Corey Webb then ease their way into the memorable, eight-minute penultimate cut from 2014’s righteous Of Woe and Wounds (review here), a song that establishes its progression and then lurches forth with resonant melancholy and heft in kind, Brown and Janiak providing highlight vocal harmonies in soulful verses and choruses.

On a record that had no shortage of quality cuts, it’s hard to find a better example of the particular downerism at which Apostle of Solitude excel so very much. You’d still call their style straightforward in that it’s two guitars, bass, drums, vocals, but though the advent of two singers (something the band’s first two records didn’t have) has added new dimension to their approach, it’s that feeling of drudgery that most distinguishes a song like “Luna,” the struggle that the pacing and delivery seem to convey. There are a lot of acts in doom who shoot for something similar, but it’s not just about playing slow or being bummed out. I know that’s vague, but you can hear it when you listen to Apostle of Solitude — and it’s something true regardless of the tempo of a given track; “Luna” happens to be slower — and it has become a defining feature of their sound. Multi-tiered doom, brought out with as much feeling as tonal density.

Apostle of Solitude previously premiered two videos from Of Woe and Wounds on this site — for “Push Mortal Coil” (posted here) and “Lamentations of a Broken Man” (posted here) — and I’m glad to host the third one for “Luna,” not just because it’s one of my favorites, but because like all the others, it’s given me an excuse to put the record on again and make my way through its lumbering moodiness. Thanks to the band for giving me permission.

Of Woe and Wounds is out on Cruz del Sur. Enjoy “Luna,” followed by the video credits, below:

Apostle of Solitude, “Luna” official video

Apostle of Solitude’s video clip for “Luna” from the album “Of Woe and Wounds” available from Cruz Del Sur Music.

Cameras: Jay Rich
Edits: S. Janiak
Performances filmed in 2015: 5/2/15 at Jabber Jaws, Allentown, PA, and 5/9/15 at Goodfellas, McMechen, WV

Recorded by Mike Bridavsky at Russian Recording, Bloomington, IN
Mixed by Mike Bridavsky
Mastered by T. Dallas Reed @ HeavyHead Studios, Port Orchard, WA

Chuck Brown – Guitar, Vocals
Corey Webb – Drums
Steve Janiak – Guitar, Vocals
Dan Davidson – Bass

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Cruz del Sur Music

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Slomatics Post Video for “Electric Breath”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 18th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster


Holy crapola is the new Slomatics record good. Like the kind of good where you just throw up your hands and turn up the volume as high as it’ll go and let the tonal wash of the thing take complete hold. Whatever else you happened to be doing at that moment in time? Forget it. For the next 40 minutes, you belong to these riffs. And if riffs were all Future Echo Returns had to offer, well, it would probably be enough, but the album also engages these broad atmospheres, organ and noise and feedback and reverberations coming together to create something that’s as much place as sound. You can hear it in the crush of “Electric Breath,” for which the Belfast trio have a new video, and in how that song fits with the tracks around it, whether that’s preceding instrumental opener “Estronomicon,” which seems to speak directly at the previous album, 2014’s Estron (review here), or the half-speed-BlackCobra push of “In the Grip of Fausto,” which follows.

Slomatics release Future Echo Returns in September through Black Bow Recordings, the imprint helmed by Conan guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis, who also happens to own Skyhammer Studio, where the album was tracked by Chris Fielding (also of Conan). The influence Slomatics, who issued their first album in 2005, must have had on Davis isn’t to be understated, but even here they refuse to be defined solely by assault as the six-minute ambient setpiece “Ritual Beginnings” leads the way with progressive foreboding into the second half of the record. As you can tell, there’s a lot to say about it, and my plan is to have a review up once I’ve had a chance to digest it a little more, but dig into “Electric Breath” below and see if you aren’t convinced. If you’re still reading, I have the feeling you will be.

Go on and have at it:

Slomatics, “Electric Breath” official video

Thanks to the incredibly talented Dermot Faloon for creating the video. Taken from our forthcoming album Future Echo Returns, which is available now for pre-order via Black Bow Records, release date 2nd September.

From the Album: Future Echo Returns.

Released via Black Bow Records Sept 2016

Created by Dermot Faloon.

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Black Bow Records

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Zippo Premiere “Comatose” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 17th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

Zippo (Photo by Daniele Di Egidio)

I’m not sure what the story of the video for Zippo‘s track “Comatose” actually has to do with the song itself, but it certainly captures the mood of brash, noise rock aggression. It’s a tale of classic gangster violence — a slice of life and death presented in kind with the Italian band’s rumbling, shout-topped groove. The song comes from Zippo‘s fourth album, After Us, which was released back in March via UK imprint Apocalyptic Witchcraft, and finds the band hitting the decade mark since their debut full-length while also working as a four-piece for the first time. While a Toshi Kasai mix might account for some of the edge one hears in “Comatose,” there’s always been more than one side to Zippo‘s approach, and that holds true for After Us as well.

While “Comatose” bruises like the brawl at the end of its video, “Familiar Roads” — which follows immediately on the album — builds tribal tension into prog-metal harmonies as “Adrift (Yet Alive)” digs into grunge scour and unhinged layers of fuzzgrind, and even a seemingly simple cut like the earlier “After Us” refuses to be defined in its asking the question of what might happen if Mike Patton fronted Alice in Chains. And all of this happens before closer “The Leftovers” waits until about the sixth of its total seven minutes to lock-in After Us‘ cohesive payoff, the prior six minutes of build obviously a tension inflicted on purpose, so while the relatively brief push of “Comatose” is telling on some levels, it’s by no means everything Zippo have to say with the album.

And it’s more gutpunch than handshake, but if you missed the record release in March and the band’s prior video for “Low Song,” as I did, it’s a vicious but enticing introduction. Made me want to dig further, anyhow.

Enjoy the video below, followed by more info from the PR wire:

Zippo, “Comatose” official video

‘Comatose’ is the second video from Zippo’s 4th album ‘After Us’, released in March by the Uk label Apocalyptic Witchcraft. The video is directed by Francesco Brancacci.

Zippo have always been about the music, which is actually very hard to define as they include elements of Prog Rock, Psych, Stoner, Sludge, Doom, Noise and even Post-Metal. Zippo thrive on creating different sounds and challenging people to use their very heart and soul to fully experience the band’s musical vision.

A winning philosophy has seen Zippo release three critically acclaimed albums: Ode To Maximum (Self-produced, 2006), The Road To Knowledge (Subsound Records, 2009), Maktub (Subsound Records, 2011). Album number four was unleashed by Uk based Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings in March 2016.

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Zippo website

Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings website

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Cultura Tres Post Lyric Video for “Sal y Piedras”; New Album La Secta Due Sept. 26

Posted in Bootleg Theater on May 16th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster

cultura tres (photo by Ian Vildosola)

We’re still a ways off from Cultura Tres releasing their new album, La Secta — due out Sept. 26 — but listening to their new single, it makes sense why the Venezuelan four-piece might want to distinguish the song. “Sal y Piedras” (“salt and rocks”) has been designated a bonus track for La Secta, which is the follow-up to Cultura Tres‘ third offering, 2013’s Rezando al Miedo (review here), and features the vocals of Yvaruma Tapia, aka Yva Las Vegass, known for working with Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic in Sweet 75 toward the tail end of the 1990s, and known as an ambassador of Venezuelan folklore and culture through her music.

The pairing with Cultura Tres‘ typically vicious sludge metal makes sense more than it might first seem. The band — vocalist/guitarist Alejandro Londono, guitarist/backing vocalist Juan Manuel de Ferrari, bassist Alonso Milano and drummer Benoit Martiny — have a long-established track record of not only promoting cultural pride in their heritage, but in conveying a fiercely anti-colonial stance and pointed social critique in their songs. This is a part of their character as a group and it bleeds through the seething intensity of much of what they do. Sonically, “Sal y Piedras” pulls away from some of that, benefiting much from Yva Las Vegass‘ melodic command and keeping a quiet initial push that ultimately gives way to a satisfyingly weighted roll. Even four months out from the record’s arrival, one can understand why they might be eager to share this special moment with their followers.

More background on the collaboration, on Yva Las Vegass‘ work and on the release of Cultura Tres‘ La Secta can be found under the video below, courtesy of the PR wire.


Cultura Tres, “Sal y Piedras” lyric video

Lyric video for the newest single by the Venezuelan psychedelic/ sludge metal band Cultura Tres feat. Yva Las Vegass (Sweet 75, Delusions of Grandeour, Tres Mundos) can be seen below. The song will be included as a bonus track in the fourth Cultura Tres album “La Secta” which will be released on September 26th 2016 on vinyl and CD and digitally through iTunes and Bandcamp.

For the members of Cultura Tres this is one of the most special compositions they have worked on – the song is a tribute to the career of someone who makes them feel proud to be Venezuelan, a person who is one of the most important voices of the Venezuelan rock. This is the reason the band decided to give to this “bonus” track its own space and let its magic proclaim the end of almost three years of silence.

Yva Las Vegass (born Yvaruma Tapia) grew up in different cities, such as Caracas, Barquisimeto and La Guaira, cities where she acquired her love for music and deep connection with folklore. She started singing and playing cuatro (Venezuelan instrument) at the age of 5 and this developed her folk music base. However, her rebelliousness took her to Seattle in the late 80s where she started performing music on the streets, taking part in different bands and playing various genres. Yva’s voice and energy made Krist Novoselic invite her to the recording studio and they formed Sweet 75 shortly afterwards. Yva’s solo album “I was born in a place of sunshine and the smell of ripe mangoes”, was one of the 25 best albums of the year 2012 according to NPR, her compositions were performed among others by Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Herb Albert and endless number of musicians and last but not least, she made many of these world icons play Venezuelan folklore. She is one of those persons whose world is art and whose life is music.

Currently Yva lives in New York City and is taking part in the recordings of the new Hurray for the Riff Raff album in The Electric Lady Studios. She is focused on developing new projects, as a sample of this can be heard in “Sal Y Piedras”. Cultura Tres vocalist/ guitarist Alejandro Londoño: “It has been an honour to have Yva Las Vegas singing this song with us, it is a tribute to the dedication and talent of one of the most significant artist of our country Venezuela. Enjoy it”.

Cultura Tres website

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Cultura Tres on Bandcamp

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