[8.5/10] Despite releasing some highly regarded albums over the last eight years, and achieving some success on the charts, Gibraltar/U.K.’s Breed 77 is still considered a fairly underground act outside of the U.K. And that’s a real shame, because when it comes to mixing traditional flamenco influences into an alternative metal template, Breed 77 have a sound that’s really quite interesting, and totally unique. But while the band has yet to achieve success on a global level, it isn’t for a lack of trying, with the band maintaining a busy tour schedule and continuing to release something new for their fans.
In the lead up to the release of their fifth full-length effort The Evil Inside, Breed 77 have put together an exclusive EP for diehard fans who signed up for the band’s pledge campaign. Entitled Under the Skin, the release brings together a collection of old, new and a couple of covers, all of which are delivered in acoustic form, but with the band’s unique flamenco style giving the songs a special twist on the familiar.
The band opens up in a somewhat energetic manner with “Remember That Day” (which originally appeared on 2006’s In My Blood (En Mi Sangre)). Even with the use of acoustic guitars in favour of electrics, the edgy vibe of the song is remarkably maintained through Isola’s powerful vocals, the duel guitar playing and flamenco tones and the subtle percussive undertones.
“Low” is an exclusive preview of what fans can expect from The Evil Inside, and it’s a track that will no doubt impress. With the band’s traditional influences taking a backseat, shades of Alice In Chains can be clearly heard within the slow paced number, while the equally downbeat track “The River” loses none of its power and emotion in its new format. If there’s one song here that I don’t think quite translates as well, it is “One More Time” (from 2009’s Insects). Although far from a complete disaster (musically, the band sound great), Isola seems to struggle a little with the lower key notes, and overall sound a little too bare within the song. “Missing Me” is an interesting inclusion here as it only appeared on the earMusic/iTunes re-release of Insects, but nonetheless a worthy addition to the track listing, while the fantastic “La Ultima Hora” (from Cultura) is every bit as impressive as its original electric counterpart.
Although it falls short of generating anywhere near as much excitement as a brand new full-length album of originals, Under the Skin is a rewarding release that fans will enjoy immensely, and the perfect way to tide over those who have been waiting patiently since 2009 for something new from the band.
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