Manal

El León

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

El León is a gritty, muscular, acid-soaked blues-rocker from the edge of the world. Manal was among the first wave of heavy rock bands from South America, alongside Almendra, Pappo's Blues, and los Gatos. The original power trio from Argentina has been credited with bringing the blues and the Spanish language together for the first time. The energy on El León, their second album, from 1971, is immense with drummer/vocalist Javier Martinez growling his way through the lyrics, even on mid-tempo numbers like "Paula (Quiero Ver Dónde Estás)," a song with the same loping menace as the Troggs' "I Want You" or even Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused." The record begins with the speed-driven "No Hay Tiempo de Más," and though the tempos may change from song to song, the playing by Martinez, bassist/vocalist Alejandro Medina, and guitarist Claudio Gabis is uniformly hard. It isn't without subtly, though, as the acoustic guitar- and hand drum-driven "Soy del Sol" proves, but even here the energy is high as the band clatters away behind Martinez's warble. Manal approach some Cream territory on the title track and also of note is the proto-glam of "Hoy Todo Anda Bien." It's less refined than their self-titled debut from 1970, but fans of hard, heavy gonzo rock should definitely check out El León. [The 2004 BMG Argentina reissue adds four bonus tracks.]

blue highlight denotes track pick