LA ARMADA by Adam Santiago
LA ARMADA by Adam Santiago
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LA ARMADA: Latino metal/hardcore activists announce “Songs of the Exiled” project, honoring immigrant past

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LA ARMADA (interviewed for IDIOTEQ in 2018) have revealed plans for Songs of the Exiled – a series of digital releases to be unveiled throughout 2020, “each dedicated to one of the places we were born, or have lived in, that have shaped us and our political stances.” The series will kick off with Songs of the Exiled I: Chicago, a tribute to the city the band has called home since 2009.

Founded in the Dominican Republic in 2001, La Armada played a major role in building up the hardcore punk scene in its home country in the ’00s, before then emigrating to the US – first to Florida, then to Chicago. The band’s highly unique story, of having made its mark in the Dominican Republic, then uprooting and starting again in the US, will be expressed and honored through Songs of the Exiled.

A self-described “crossover” band, the quintet’s sound blends influences from metal, hardcore punk, and Caribbean music. In La Armada‘s hands, thrashing hardcore, inspired by bands ranging from Bad Brains to Death, is intensified by traditional Latin rhythms. As one VICE writer put it:

“Over the years, in addition to perfecting a vicious live show, the hardworking quintet developed a unique style of progressive-yet-propulsive punk-inflected metallic hardcore that marries jumpy tempos, driving riffs, sick guitar solos, and muscular technicality, while experimenting with building songs around Latin rhythms.”

Just as its music reflects its background, so does its message. La Armada describes its political stance to be that of “decolonizing and anti-fascist lyrics, which criticize the politics of both the US and the Dominican Republic.” Denouncing historical atrocities and also pointing out flaws in modern-day society – racism, police brutality, prisons for profit, to name a few – the band has put its money where its mouth is, with a long history of organizing concerts and events to raise funds for causes such as the American Civil Liberties Union and for grassroots organizations in the Caribbean.

Having honed its sound and its politics over three studio albums, two splits, and three EPs, and having toured with the likes of Sick of It All, Propagandhi, and Death by Stereo, La Armada will pour its experience into Songs of the Exiled and intends to focus on this project for the rest of 2020. With this ambitious new work now underway, an official statement was released this week, announcing the first lineup change in the band’s 19-year history:

“We would like to announce that our brother Javier Fernandez, aka Bruka, our lifelong lead singer and comrade, will no longer be an active member of La Armada. Bruka’s fierce voice and militant activism have been a major force within this band. He’s made the tough decision to pursue other challenges that make it impossible to commit to the band’s heavy touring/recording schedule. We have had a long and meaningful journey together, his legacy in the band is unquestionable.

That being said, we are happy to officially introduce our new lead singer Casper Torres, all the way from Puerto Rico. Casper is an old friend and an experienced hardcore-punk veteran (KDC, Rhinoceros) with explosive on-stage presence some serious studio chops. Some of you met him while on tour with us last year. For those in Europe, you already saw the energy he brings to the stage. We are excited to have him on board and together we’re creating songs that continue to push heavy music forward with the same intensity and social justice tradition. We can’t wait to share it with you.”

Stand by for more details about Songs of the Exiled, coming soon.

“La Armada have built an international reputation as an unbelievably ferocious hardcore band the old fashioned way: by playing countless DIY shows, starting in their hometown of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic in 2001 and continuing after making the move to their adopted city of Chicago.” –VICE

“Crusty hardcore and monolithic metal with a whiff of the rhythms of the Dominican Republic.” –Chicago Reader

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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