If you visited L.A.'s heavily Latino East Side and checked out the music scene thoroughly, you would find a wide variety of styles: everything from rock, R&B, and hip-hop to Mexican forms like ranchero, mariachi, norteño, and tejano. Some of East L.A.'s rockers are part of the rock en español movement, which has found artists from all over Latin America (as well as parts of the U.S.) embracing different types of rock (metal, alternative, power pop, ska-punk -- you name it) but singing in Spanish exclusively. Other rockers from East L.A. prefer to sing in English exclusively or take the type of bilingual approach that Union 13 favors on its third album, Youth, Betrayal, and the Awakening. Whether Union 13's lead singer Edward Escoto is singing in English or Spanish, this CD is pure punk; fast, forceful, passionate, and angry. But Youth, Betrayal, and the Awakening isn't an exercise in anger for the sake of anger. Taking a look at some of the social and political issues facing East L.A. and similar communities, Union 13 reflects on the impact that they are having on Latino youth. You will hear a lot of anger on tracks like "Illusion," "Buscando la Verdad" (in Spanish, that means "searching for the truth"), and "Beyond the System," but it is anger combined with intelligence. Although it falls short of being a gem, Youth, Betrayal, and the Awakening is a decent offering from some Latino rockers who have a lot on their minds.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson