So I’d never heard of MURO before the promo for this new/old album El Cuarto Jinete (originally released in 2013 and coming out again on March 15 via Fighter Records) showed up in my e-mail a short time ago. The story goes like this: Formed in 1981, brought a hybrid of Classic/Speed Metal to Spain, and released a few records. They then broke up in 2003 before reuniting in 2009 with their classic lineup: Silver (vocals), Largo (guitars), Julito (bass), and Lapi (drums). Ok, all caught up? Good. As far as influences go I can hear everything from ACCEPT to JUDAS PRIEST to MANOWAR in their heaviness, speed, vigor, and Silver’s venomous delivery.
Sung entirely in Spanish, I don’t have much clue as to what’s being said save for the occasional “despues,” “ojo,” or “hermanos,” but that doesn’t matter one bit because the music and vocals are so passionate and real that it’s impossible not to get caught up in the tunes. Opener and title track “El Cuarto Jinete”, “Otra Batalla”, and “Maldito Bastardo” are ripped right from the 80’s tr00 metal playbook and should have anyone and everyone headbanging like a motherfucker. “Sobrevivir” has this fist-pumping and chest-thumping groove going for it, while “En el Ojo del Huracán” is an all-out speed demon ready to rip shit apart.
“La Voz” is one of several tracks that employs the MANOWAR technique of adding a choral base at the beginning, something I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed. It then takes off, propelled by Lapi’s steady double bass attack, sounding like a conquering army headed your way. “Hermanos de Sangre” probably has my favorite guitar riff on a disc FULL of killer riffs. It’s fucking badass, and would be perfect for a workout if I actually did. “Honorable”, “Muero por ti”, and “Fratricido” all continue of the greatness that was/is the metal of yesteryear, especially “Fratricido.” I really dug that one. All three continue the task of showcasing the band’s chops to the uninitiated.
Closing the record out, we are treated to a cover of RAINBOW’S “Kill the King” and I have to say the boys do a bang-up job on it, Silver even singing in English. I was very impressed with how it turned out, and I think Ronnie James Dio would be, too. So all told El Cuarto Jinete is a really good traditional metal album that is heavy, melodic, and full of sick grooves and solos along with some powerful vocals. Oh, and before I forget, it turns out Silver left the band in late 2013, to be replaced by Rosa Pérez. So now I can’t wait to hear what the future holds. In the meantime, if you want a tasty slice of heavy metal with balls of steel, then I strongly suggest you give MURO a shot if you haven’t already.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Hermanos de Sangre”, “En el Ojo del Huracán”, “El Cuarto Jinete”, “Fratricido”, “Kill the King”