Album Review: Viaje a 800, Coñac Oxigenado: Deluxe Edition

Posted in Reviews on April 3rd, 2024 by JJ Koczan

viaje a 800 Conac Oxigenado deluxe edition

I readily count Viaje a 800 among the most criminally undervalued heavy rock bands Europe has ever produced, so maybe if you’re looking for an impartial assessment of Spinda Records‘ do-it-up-right Coñac Oxigenado: Deluxe Edition reissue of their 2012 swansong (review here), I’m not the one to provide it. They were never super-prompt on output, but between 2001’s Diablo Roto Dë… and 2007’s Estampida de Trombones, the band that in 2010 would record as the trio lineup of bassist/vocalist/keyboardist Poti, guitarist/backing vocalist J. Angel and drummer Andres, fostered a style of heavy rock that was utterly their own and represented not only influences from the Californian desert, but from classic progressive rock as well as Andalusian folk melodies, flamenco rhythms and percussion, and a resulting atmosphere that was ahead of its time.

As the culmination of Viaje a 800’s original run, Coñac Oxigenado pushed their craft as far as it would ever go (to-date; never say never) into those proggy leanings, and from its 12-minute opener “Oculi Omnium In Te Sperant Domine” through the in-English cover of “What’s Going On” originally by Australian heavy-’70s rockers Buffalo, the fluidity, depth and presence they were able to establish in this material still feels innovative 12 years after the fact. And it may well be that having such an individual sound is part of the reason they’ve been so undervalued – I’m sure out there somewhere is a German band who’ve got handclaps in a song like those in the purpose-declaring, scorcher-solo-inclusive jammy middle of Coñac Oxigenado’s lead track, but I wouldn’t expect it to work as well – but even from an outsider’s perspective, it’s easy enough to read an element of cultural discrimination in how isolated the Iberian heavy underground for the most part is even today, beyond whatever language barrier may or may not apply to a given act as it might here.

Thus Coñac Oxigenado: Deluxe Edition — which arrives coinciding with a return to the stage for limited live shows this year — feels something like an 88-minute love letter to Viaje a 800, whose original 1998 demo, Santa Agueda, also saw release through Spinda in 2019, and its 3LP presentation captures an archivalist impulse, preserving a complicated narrative of the recording and of the band more generally. In addition to the five-song/51-minute original tracklisting, the ‘deluxe’-ness manifests in four additional cuts, three of which are alternate versions — “Oculi Omnium In Te Sperant Domine,” “Tagarnina Blues” and “Eterna Soledad” — and the last of which is the previously-unreleased “Todo es Nada.” To my understanding, none of these recordings have surfaced before (the difference being that a re-recorded “Todo es Nada” didn’t make the final 2012 LP), and that lineup changes were part of it — anybody looking for a probably-wrong complete retelling of Viaje a 800‘s lineup history here? I didn’t think so; moving on — but with 15 years’ distance from the original 2009 sessions at Seville’s Doghouse Studios with Curro Ureba, the previously-lost tracks present a new look at the scope of the band’s sound.

A full rundown of the changes between the 2009 and 2010 recordings — the latter of which became the album released in 2012 — would be academic and (again) probably wrong unless I was cut and pasting factoids like Orthodox‘s Marco Serrato guesting on vocals for the ’09 session or the guitar contribution from 2010-version producer José María Sagrista to “Eterna Soledad.” Neither of those is irrelevant, but neither gives much of an impression of the differences most resonant when setting the tracks in question side-by-side. While the finished, non-prequel Coñac Oxigenado presented itself as Viaje a 800‘s fullest-sounding recording in the low end, and the band always had a brooding element in their vocal melodies, the 2009 versions feel closer to chasing an ideal based on live performance, and so come through as both rawer in their basic sound and brighter in tone.

VIAJE A 800 (Photo by Tomoyuki Hotta)

The acoustic strum of “Eterna Soledad” feels more direct in its folk lineage without the keys accompanying the transition from the initial verses to it, and “Tagarnina Blues” hits with more punch in its snare as it makes ready to shift into the solo, and as anyone who’s ever sat in for a mixing process can tell you, a lot can be done to change the personality of a song in minute adjustments to the balance of its component elements. As they perhaps inevitably would, the 2010 recordings feel more realized and considered in terms of the transitions from one to the next, and there’s a smoother overall sound to their production. Does that mean that the force with which 2009’s “Oculi Omnium In Te Sperant Domine” hits doesn’t work. Oh no. It absolutely does. But it’s fascinating to hear Viaje a 800 working toward two different goals in style with the same material, and where the lushness of Coñac Oxigenado became a marked example of how the band had grown since Estampida de Trombones half a decade before, Coñac Oxigenado: Deluxe Edition broadens the appeal further by showcasing a heretofore-unheard side of these songs. And frankly, they rock.

I won’t say they were wrong to trade out “Todo es Nada” for “Ni Perdón, Ni Olvido” for the 2012 release, not the least for the movement the latter enacts across a similar seven-minute runtime from a riff I likened in the original review to Megadeth to the psychedelic build that leads into its later charging chorus and multi-stage crescendo, but through its start-stop repetitions, semi-spoken lyrics and the procession it undertakes into crash and vocal effects, “Todo es Nada” offers a bleaker ambience than anything that did wind up on Coñac Oxigenado while still holding to a progressive structure and in its vocals-over-drums ending, capping Coñac Oxigenado: Deluxe Edition with an invitation to speculate at what they might have done had they kept going into the 2010s.

Does it matter? I think so, but again, I was a fan of the original Coñac Oxigenado, of the band generally, and of outfits like Atavismo and Mind! that Poti went on to found in Viaje a 800‘s wake. And if you don’t care about art or music or those who’ve made contributions in service to either, yeah, a 3LP reissue of a Spanish heavy band’s record from 2012 might not be the birthday present you’re asking for this year, but the very, very least I can tell you about Coñac Oxigenado, deluxe or not, is that it holds up, and if you’ve never engaged with the band before, these songs are a world waiting for you to find your place in them. I don’t know if Coñac Oxigenado: Deluxe Edition will be how Viaje a 800 come to receive a modicum of the respect they deserve for what they accomplished during their time, but it’s a big piece of why they deserve that respect in the first place, and this revisit is a celebration well earned.

Viaje a 800, Coñac Oxigenado: Deluxe Edition (2024)

Viaje a 800, “Todo es Nada” official video

Viaje a 800 on Facebook

Viaje a 800 on Instagram

Viaje a 800 on Bandcamp

Spinda Records on Facebook

Spinda Records on Instagram

Spinda Records on Bandcamp

Spinda Records website

Tags: , , , , ,

Viaje a 800 to Release Coñac Oxigenado Deluxe Edition April 4; “Todo es Nada” Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 14th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

VIAJE A 800 (Photo by Tomoyuki Hotta)

Whatever combination of fingers and toes might need to be sacrificed on the altar of deregulated capitalism in order for me to see Viaje a 800 before I die, I have to think it’d be worth giving up at least a few. Generational spearheads of Spanish-language heavy rock in the 1990s and the outfit from which bands like Atavismo sprang, the Algeciras trio released their last record, Coñac Oxigenado (review here), in 2012. Undervalued during their time and, as with so many of the Iberian acts operating in their wake, never given the credit that was their due owing in part to European tribalism, they’ll get back together for three exclusive live dates this year (perhaps more) and offer a deluxe edition of Coñac Oxigenado on April 4 through Spinda Records.

And by ‘deluxe,’ they mean an entire second version of the album. Actually, it the first version. Recorded in 2009 and featuring the unreleased-until-today start-stopper “Todo es Nada” — video streaming at the bottom of the post — the lost Coñac Oxigenado is set to accompany the 2012 version in a 2CD or 3LP set for which preorders are also open as of today. They’ll do the album in full at the aforementioned shows, reportedly, as well as highlights from their other two records, 2001’s Diablo Roto De… and 2007’s Estampida de Trombones, either of which would deserve the same lush reissue treatment if they also happened to have alternate recordings laying around. And who knows, maybe they do.

I hope they keep going and I hope they do more shows.

From the PR wire:

viaje a 800 Conac Oxigenado deluxe edition


Release date: April 4 | Single & Album pre-order: March 14


Viaje a 800 is back with a deluxe edition of ‘Coñac Oxigenado’, which includes songs and unreleased versions up to date. The band from Algeciras (Spain) will be presenting it live in 2024 during a series of exclusive dates.

The legendary Spanish rock band Viaje a 800 announces the reissue of ‘Coñac Oxigenado’, their last studio album. This special release will be available on April 4, 2024, promising not only a celebration of the band’s musical history but also an unparalleled auditory experience for their devoted fans and rock enthusiasts alike.

With a legacy dating back to the mid-90s, Viaje a 800 has made an indelible mark on the rock scene with their distinctive heavy psych and progressive rock sound. Hailing from Algeciras in the very south of Europe, the band has earned acclaim from both critics and fans for their unique fusion of eclectic musical elements, ranging from heavy blues to proto-stoner rock or even Andalusian rock, creating a style of their own that has withstood the test of time and now positions them as an influence for many contemporary artists.

The story of ‘Coñac Oxigenado’, much like that of the band itself, is a saga in its own right, marked by unbridled creativity, perseverance, and a passion for music. Recorded analogically in 2009 at Doghouse Studios in Seville (Spain) by Curro Ureba, this album captured the raw and vibrant spirit of the band in its purest moment. However, after a series of events and artistic decisions, the final version of the album didn’t see the light until 2012, through Alone Records, and after being entirely re-recorded in 2010 by José María Sagrista at Punt Paloma Studios (Spain).

‘Coñac Oxigenado’
(deluxe edition)

1. Oculi Omnium In Te Sperant Domine
2. Ni perdón, ni olvido
3. Eterna soledad
4. Tagarnina Blues
5. What’s going on
6. Oculi Omnium In Te Sperant Domine
7. Tagarnina Blues
8. Eterna soledad
9. Todo es nada

On April 4, 2024, Spinda Records releases a deluxe edition of ‘Coñac Oxigenado’. For the occasion, both versions of the album are presented, from the original pre-mixes by Curro Ureba to the final version recorded by the renowned producer José María Sagrista, mixed by José Gil at Crab Studios, and mastered by Chris Rozioswki in the US. Undoubtedly, this is a unique window into the band’s sonic evolution and the creative magic that has defined their legacy.

In addition to the inclusion of both recordings, this reissue of ‘Coñac Oxigenado’ features a series of significant differences: arrangements, song durations, mixes, and lyrics vary between the two versions, offering listeners a complete perspective of the musical vision of the band from Algeciras. If in the final version they had the collaboration on guitar of José María Sagrista (Triana, Círculo Vicioso) in “Eterna soledad”, in the initial version Marco Serrato (Orthodox) contributed vocals in “Occuli Omnium In Te Sperant Domine”. However, the main difference lies in the inclusion of “Todo es nada”, an unreleased track to date that was part of the 2009 recording but was left out of the final version in favor of “Ni perdón, ni olvido”. With over 7 minutes of extremely dark, intense music and a raw sound unlike anything Viaje a 800 had shown before, it will be presented as the sole preview of this necessary reissue on March 14th at midnight, accompanied by a music video directed by Fernando J. Martínez.

These two journeys of ‘Coñac Oxigenado’ also offer a unique visual experience, with a revision of Julia Morell’s original artwork by The Braves Church, presenting it in a triple gatefold sleeve with the inclusion of lyrics.

The deluxe edition of ‘Coñac Oxigenado’ by Viaje a 800 will be available from April 4, 2024, in digital and physical formats (pre-orders will be available from March 14th at midnight on, in a double CD edition and in a triple black vinyl format, as part of Spinda Records’ ‘Trippy Series’. Each of the 300 vinyl copies is hand-numbered and represents a tangible tribute to the band’s lasting legacy in the history of Spanish rock; a necessary homage to an essential musical formation.


The band will offer a series of exclusive concerts to celebrate, where they will perform ‘Coñac Oxigenado’ in full, along with some classics from their discography. Those who saw them at the time or at one of the three concerts they played during their brief reunion in 2019 will know that they are in top form.

May 11 | Granada (ES)^
October 18 | Barcelona (ES)^
November 7 | Madrid (ES)^
November 16 | Algeciras (ES)

^Tickets on sale at on March 15 at midnight.

Viaje a 800, “Todo es Nada” official video

Tags: , , , , ,

Viaje a 800, Coñac Oxigenado: All Eyes Wait upon Thee

Posted in Reviews on December 18th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

Half a decade after issuing their excellent sophomore outing in the form of Estampida de Trombones, Andalusian heavy rockers Viaje a 800 emerge a much different band on the follow-up, Coñac Oxigenado. Not necessarily sonically – their sound is still very much defined by an encompassing, moody tonal weight and the lower register vocals of bassist Alberto “Poti” Mota – however, Mota has revamped Viaje a 800’s lineup and shifted the songwriting process, going from a four-piece to a trio and writing some of the longest songs the band had ever put on an album. Where Estampida de Trombones had shorter pieces like “Nicosia” or “Zé,” none of Coñac Oxigenado’s five tracks clocks in at under six minutes, and the album as a whole is a full 51 minutes long. I’d say that the band had a lot on their minds after not issuing a record in five years, but the break between their 2001 Diablo Roto De debut and Estampida de Trombones was six years, and the second album was the shorter of the two. In any case, Viaje a 800 – who release the full-length, as always, via Alone Records – are well suited to the more extended form, and the album is clearly organized to showcase the longer cuts, with the three that run over 10 minutes positioned as the opener, centerpiece and closer. Those are “Oculi Omnium in Te Sperant Domine,” “Eterna Soledad” and “What’s Going On,” respectively, and each of them as well as “Ni Perdón Ni Olvido” and “Tagarnina Blues” between have something different to offer the listener who would take them on. The closer is notable for the departure from the band’s native Spanish to English lyrics, but even so, Viaje a 800 still sound like Viaje a 800 more than they sound like anyone else, and anyone who got into either or both of their other albums will recognize elements still present in their sound, whether it’s the insistent rhythms, vague Monster Magnet influence or choice riffing. Given that Mota is joined by two new players – J. Angel on guitar/backing vocals and Andres on drums – I don’t know and won’t presume to say how much of the songwriting was his to start with, but as Viaje a 800 came into their third with a strong sound developed over two prior outings, that they’d develop the sound rather than depart from it in spite of lineup shifts can only be a good thing. Particularly given how much Coñac Oxigenado rocks.

On either of their past albums, “Oculi Omnium in Te Sperant Domine” might have been more than one song. Viaje a 800 open with a driving riff that soon leads into the hook of a verse – Mota wasting no time in establishing a straightforward push – and soon Angel takes the fore with a couple leads offset by vocals here and there around the central figure carried across on rhythm guitar, bass and drums. Just past three minutes in, however, the pace cuts and flourishes of percussion and a descending stair progression lead the way out to a psychedelic interlude. Mellotron sounds underscore a sparse bluesy guitar before Andres ups the snare punctuation and Mota returns on vocals for a still-slowed verse. In turn, this gives way to a faster bass-introduced section topped with fuzz guitar that veers into flamenco claps and rhythmic intricacy. The guitar eventually comes back alongside Mota’s steady bassline and Andres’ consistent snare march, but Viaje a 800 never quite get back to the initial verse progression, ending instead what started out as a simply structured song with a lengthy instrumental jam. Whether or not it was their intent to catch their audience off guard, I don’t know, but the disorienting effect persists and it feels purposeful. The shorter “Ni Perdón Ni Olvido” starts out more metallic with a guitar like from Angel that feels culled from the playbook of Countdown to Extinction-era Megadeth – of course the context is different – that immediately grounds Coñac Oxigenado’s flow and sets the course for the next seven-plus minutes, most of which is derived from that initial distorted verse line. Angel’s lead work proves a highlight throughout the record, but as “Ni Perdón Ni Olvido” branches out so specifically from the guitar line, it seems especially notable on the second track. As “Eterna Soledad” gets underway with an organic-feeling mandolin groove, he becomes all the more a standout factor in Viaje a 800’s current incarnation.

Read more »

Tags: , , , , ,