Already on their first LP, Buenos Aires-based four-piece Montenegro have hit on an interesting sonic blend. Taking elements from desert rock, surf, spaghetti west and South American folk, the heavy rockers start out with a leg up on Confusos Recuerdos Después del Coma (Sick-o-Delic Records), comprised of four relatively extended tracks totaling about 35 minutes. The shortest of them, the mostly-instrumental “Soluciones,” might be the most interesting of the bunch, with guitarist Gonzalo Rubio García inserting driving leads between alternately funky and driving riffs, choppy-waters surf and finally rolling grooves topped by vocalist Agustin Girolami, but even on the opening “Ideario,” Montenegro distinguish themselves within the range of post-Los Natas Argentinian heavy.
Feedback buzz starts the song, but soon the low rumble of bassist Luciano Marchisio comes on and is an immediate tonal argument in the band’s favor. Marchisio sets up the central figure that soon enough drummer Santiago Lago and García join, the latter adding space echoes to the wavy progression, giving a nod to slow space that also shows up later in the noisy midsection of closer “Santa Cruz.” A jammy feeling is built and maintained through the course of “Ideario,” and when Girolami adds words to the vibing, his voice sounds high and dry in the mix above the instruments, but in an airier section that follows as they near six minutes into the track the balance is better, and by the time they get to the whoops and shouts on “Soluciones,” it’s hardly an issue at all.
Indeed, on the 10-minute third cut, “Tiempo Fractal,” I’d argue the vocals go a long way in making the song, finally providing an answer to what Yawning Man might’ve sounded like had they ever hired a singer, guitars tripping out over strong rhythms and snare march from Lago to setup Girolami‘s entry point, which is met with Delmar-style smoothness following speech either spoken or sampled, Marchisio having thickened out the groove for a call and response that leads to a heavier rush as Montenegro head toward seven minutes in the development of what’s basically been one part. García gives his delay pedal a workout, but winds up with a memorable instrumental hook anyway, and though the vocals are high in the mix toward the end once again, the positive impression has already been made.
Closer “Santa Cruz” uses spoken vocals as well, amid dueling bass and guitar wah swirl and nestles into an solid lead-led groove lent personality by Lago‘s sleepy crash work before breaking down nearly to silence to set the foundation for Confusos Recuerdos Después del Coma‘s final build. Here too the guitar is at the fore, but at 5:41, Marchisio introduces a more foreboding line, and the guitar soon returns to top it with dense fuzz and open-spaces leads atop steady drum thud. Girolami‘s work is done, but the instruments do a more than solid job of carrying Montenegro‘s debut to its finish, surprisingly peaceful despite some moments of chaos within.
It will be interesting to see how Montenegro endeavor to work in some of the variety of influence they show on “Soluciones” in with the desert rock and heavy psych aspects of their sound going forward — if indeed they decide that’s to be their project — but already on Confusos Recuerdos Después del Coma they have a strong sense of aesthetic that’s met with warm tones and engaging grooves. The album is available for free download at the Montenegro Bandcamp, from whence the following player was also hoisted: