Sensory Overload: Instrumental quartet Brujas del Sol ready to erupt

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

From the outside, at least, Brujas del Sol, like an inactive volcano, has long appeared dormant.

Concerts have been rare birds, and, up until recently at least, the band’s Facebook site has been a relative ghost town, lingering without updates for weeks at a time. Considering the circumstances, initially it seemed like a death knell for Brujas when inventive metal crew Lo-Pan drafted the band’s Adrian Zambrano for a lead guitar slot late last year, further diverting his attention. Since November, Zambrano has logged countless hours in rehearsal and on the road with Lo-Pan — a commitment that includes a three-week European trek that kicks off in April.

Surprising some, perhaps, Brujas has remained an active concern, with action bubbling magma-like just beneath the undisturbed landscape. On a recent Tuesday, the band finally breached the surface, premiering a handful of new tunes while opening for Elder at Ace of Cups.

Some things have changed within the band. Cody Smith, formerly of Bummers, stepped in on drums, providing a precise anchoring point for the group’s instrumental explorations (in a recent interview Bummers’ frontman Jeff Pearl described his former bandmate as a master of the single-take, and a musician who consistently “lived in the pocket”).

Other things, thankfully, have not. Zambrano still wields feedback with a skilled hand, bending and shaping buzzing sonic waves like Magneto masterfully manipulating metal. And the musicians are still comfortable stretching things out, allowing tracks to build steadily over five, six, seven minutes, hardening as gradually as wet cement.

In a February 2014 interview Zambrano said the band was in the midst of writing material that sported “a tension … and an aggression that wasn’t there before,” and there were certainly moments here where the music bared its fangs. On one song, Zambrano raked both his hands across the guitar, drawing a curdled shriek from his instrument. On another he rocked back on his heels, like Fred Sanford anticipating The Big One, uncorking a climbing riff that flowed through the speakers like molten iron ore.

The performance stoked excitement for a pair of upcoming releases, including a pressing of the single “Occultation,” as well as an in-the-works full-length Zambrano and Co. hope to release before the end of the year.

Andy Downing photo