It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since Borracho stormed onto the scene with their excellent debut, Splitting Sky. Shit man, seems like just yesterday I was calling it an "instant classic” right here on Heavy Planet. Fortunately, we won’t have to wait too much longer before we have a brand new slab of heavy from the Washington DC based groove-mongers. In fact, word on the street is that vocalist/guitarist Noah Greenburg made a rare State-side appearance recently (he’s been out of the country for the better part of a year) to lay down his signature snarl on tracks that’ll make up the band’s as yet untitled follow-up LP. Now that’s good news indeed for worshippers of the almighty riff, but it sure as hell doesn’t put new Borracho music in our hands right now, does it? Well fear not, because I’m about to give you a Borracho fix that’ll shake your ass and rattle your skull just long enough to tide you over until that next full length drops.
But before I do, let me first give you a little background information on this project. You see, back in 2009, prior to Splitting Sky, Borracho was still in the early stages of formation, becoming less of a side project (I'll leave it up to you to read about their history on your own) and more of a full time gig. With that in mind, the four musicians holed themselves up in an abandoned mansion buried deep in the woods of Virginia with the intention of recording their first songs as a new band. Now, some of those tracks would become early demos that are probably still floating around out there somewhere, and others would eventually be re-recorded and included on Splitting Sky, but there were two in particular that were left on the shelf to rot…never having been heard outside the walls of that old, rickety mansion...that is until now.
In case you missed it, Mob Gathering was released last month as a 7” single and it’s your chance to hear these long lost songs and to experience a bit of Borracho history while you're at it. Now, if you're at all familiar with the band, you’ll no doubt notice that both the title track and its B-side, “Short Ride (When it’s Over)” are relatively short by their standards. In fact, its safe to say that these songs lean more towards the streamlined “Concentric Circles” style of ass kicking than to the extended jams that made up the bulk of Splitting Sky. But before you get the notion that this is your standard verse, chorus, verse fare that's fit for the herd, you'd do well to remember who you're talking about.
Just give a listen to “Mob Gathering” and you’ll see what I mean as it bobs and weaves along a stop, start rhythm laid down by bassist Tim Martin and drummer Mario Trubiano. Guitarist Steve Fisher rips through multiple tasty hooks that lead into Greenburg's opening roar…"working the land, like a second class citizen"…and just like that, you'll feel right at home back in Borracho's world. The band sets into their heavy, mid-tempo groove like a stubborn fucking mule for the first half of the track and then abandons it like a sinking ship midway through, as they transition into the musical equivalent of a full speed, lumbering rhino. Your neck will be wrecked…trust me.
"Short Ride (When it's Over)" picks up right where that one leaves off with a rapid fire riff layered with Trubiano's piledriver percussion. Fisher erupts throughout with flourishes of guitar wankery that sound all the more virtuosic next to the density of Martin's heavy ass bass lines. And this may be the most dynamic vocal performance we've heard from Greenburg as he stretches his gruff register to its high end limit and then follows it up by diving to his guttural low. But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that this song's breakdown will have you moving like a maniac, likely throwing shit around and generally acting like an asshole. Fact…the neighbors will call the cops. Also, this may be my favorite Borracho tune ever.
Look people, this one should be pretty goddamn easy. In fact, all I really needed to say is "Borracho" and you should all know that this is worth checking out. But just in case you're new around these parts, I think I've given plenty of reasons for you to spin these two epic examples of colossal groove and then delve into the mammoth masterpiece that is Splitting Sky. Like what you hear? Buy a copy of the limited edition vinyl that comes in your choice of black or orange/black swirl. But don't wait too long my friends, there are only 300 of these in existence…and when they're gone…they're gone. Do not miss it.