The original spirit of heavy metal has undoubtedly taken an infinite number of twists and turns in the decades since its inception, and it’s led to an infinite number of experiences and styles. When it comes to straight heavy metal, though, I love seeing a band just have fun with the music they’re making even after several years. And I mean fun as in the band doesn’t give two shits what people think, they’re just having a good time. That’s what the return of Excalibur is: a damn good time amongst friends.
Now, to be fair, there are so many different bands out there named “Excalibur” that are specifically heavy metal alone that it’s ridiculous, but today we’re talking about the one that hails from Spain. Before this album back in 2013, Excalibur had put out an EP that was after a 17-year long break (hiatus, really)! It’s difficult enough for a band to come back from a hiatus lasting just three or four years, but the Spaniards behind Excalibur overcame such an obstacle with what seems absolute ease. “Humo Negro” (meaning “Black Smoke”) is no less than the epitome of what happens when fans of heavy metal come together as friends and make the best of their time. This record is an enchanting, classic, and strangely upbeat experience the likes of which that we just don’t get a lot of anymore, and that’s quite unfortunate. Being as whimsical as it is, “Humo Negro” will instantly turn some people away, but there’s not a damn thing wrong with this approach because it’s something that so accessible and approachable that it’s quite a marvel that any band can accomplish it. Then the fact that Excalibur’s vocals are sung almost exclusively in Spanish, it adds this entirely new flavor, texture, and depth that English doesn’t seem to have access to. Truly, this record is a landmark of Spanish heavy metal and, while it’ll likely be criminally unknown, will surely further cement the legacy of Excalibur being one of the finest from the Spanish underground.
Everything about “Humo Negro” is applause worthy and is a clear testament that heavy metal’s original spirit is very alive and well, and I absolutely adore it when a band can do that. It seems that the years were kind to the creative minds behind Excalibur as we get no less than a damn near essential record for anyone who wants to hear a class act that is back for more!
“Humo Negro” releases on May 3rd via Fighter Records!
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