La Tierra Esta Sorda

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A year after Barricada celebrated their silver anniversary with 25 Años de Rocanrol (2008), a multimedia package comprised of two CDs, two DVDs, and a book, they unveiled another weighty release, La Tierra Está Sorda, an 18-track concept album about the Spanish Civil War accompanied by a 184-page book. La Tierra Está Sorda is their first album of new material in a half-decade, and the band's first full-length studio effort since Hombre Mate Hombre (2004). Though Barricada have been absent from the recording studio for years, they've remained active and kept their legion of fans attentive with concert tours, the live album Latidos y Mordiscos (2006), and the aforementioned retrospective multimedia package. Consequently, La Tierra Está Sorda isn't so much a comeback album for Barricada as it is another in a long line of offerings for the band's fan base. It also happens to be one of their better albums, as the conceptual framework gives them plenty of lyrical inspiration and a fresh approach to songwriting. Enrique Villareal (aka El Drogas), the band's vocalist and bassist, said that the idea of writing a concept album about the Spanish Civil War appealed to him in part because of his own interest in the subject and in part because he wanted to educate Spaniards, in particular the younger generation of listeners who comprise much of the band's fan base. While there's certainly lots of history crammed into this album, it's enjoyable simply as music: ambitious hard rock from an urban perspective and a radical viewpoint. The 18 tracks comprising La Tierra Está Sorda provide Barricada plenty of space to shift tempos frequently and try out different types of songs. The album drags at times on account of the conceptual frame (for instance, the album opener, "Desfilan," is something of a false start), and some of the songs are excessively lyrical, but there are plenty of highlights sequenced throughout the album, among them "Por la Libertad," "22 de Mayo," and the grand finale, "Una Lágrima en el Suelo," which opens with spare acoustic guitar and builds to a dramatic conclusion. Yet another feather in the cap of Spain's most revered hard rock band, La Tierra Está Sorda is all the more evidence that Barricada remain relevant in spite of their old age.