By 2007, Raúl Hernández had been recording as a solo artist for 11 years -- and it was clear that unlike los Tigres del Norte (the influential norteño group that put him on the map), he had no intention of adhering to an all-norteño-all-the-time policy. Hernández continued to embrace norteño, but it was obvious that banda and mariachi were also important parts of the equation for Hernández as a solo artist. Banda, in fact, is the only thing he performs on Al Estilo Mexicano ("In the Mexican Style"). There isn't a trace of norteño (or, for that matter, mariachi) to be found on this late 2007 release; it's banda all the way this time, and banda's huge wall of brass is a definite asset for Hernández on staunchly Mexican performances like "Mi Punto Débil" ("My Weak Spot"), "Princesa" ("Princess"), "Después de Ti" ("After You"), and the corrido "Traigo la Sangre Caliente" ("I Bring Hot Blood"). Al Estilo Mexicano isn't the least bit apologetic about its regional Mexican orientation; quite the contrary -- Hernández steers clear of crossover material and delivers a hardcore banda project that. Regional Mexican purists should have no problem getting into. This 30-minute CD isn't quite as essential as Hernández' 2004 release Prisionero de Ti ("Prisoner of You"), which drew on banda as well as norteño, ranchera, and mariachi and is among his best solo outings. But Al Estilo Mexicano is a solid effort that finds Hernández continuing to function pleasingly well outside of the famous los Tigres del Norte.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2