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[Off The Record]
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Puya
UNION
(MCA)

The Puerto Rican new-metal outfit Puya made a splash a few years back with the Spanish-language hit " Oasis, " which fused their blustery attack with horns and island rhythms. The band continue to reconcile their anger with an underlying mood of tropical celebration on their second disc, taking the trademark stylistic juxtaposition to new extremes. With its hip-hop verses and dark pop chorus, the opening " Ride " is as rote as it is heavy, but the band stretch things out from there. The full-bore rant " Socialize " gets Suicidal in the middle; the sprawling " Si Aja " sounds like the lost metal collaboration from Santanaís Supernatural.

A posse of Latin percussion dudes guests on almost every song, giving a hazy jam-band vibe to the mellow parts and turning the rougher-edged stuff claustrophobic in a good way. Vocalist Sergio Cubelo canít help sounding like his obvious ethno-metal idol, Sepultura/Soulfly singer Max Cavalera; still, his impassioned outbursts are a worthy tribute. Ax man Ramón Ortizís anachronistic shred-guitar work is, like the rest of the bandís playing, a little too slick, but it adds welcome spots of color where most of his contemporaries would opt for white noise. The group end the disc with an unlisted 10-minute party jam, leaving their rage by the wayside and proving that even new-metalers can have fun in the sun.

BY SEAN RICHARDSON

Issue Date: June 7 - 14, 2001