Vagales – Insania

Following their 2018 Self-Titled debut album, Vagales (comprised of Giancarlo Zamora Ibarra on guitar and vocals, Paul Becerra on bass and primary vocals, and Steven Saenz on drums and vocals) deliver a street punk masterpiece in 2022’s Insania, released by Ninety Four Records.

The aptly named first track, “Despertar” (Wake Up) slams into your ears, demanding full attention with Becerra growling, “Despertar en una mierda de abismo sin saber adónde voy, sin saber quién soy yo mismo…” (Wake up in a shit abyss without knowing where I’m going, without knowing who I am), and the sound doesn’t relent for the entirety of this 9 track album. 

It is followed by one of the singles (and my favorite on the album) “Papel” (Paper-referring to money). It starts and ends with the rant, “Estoy mama’o de esto” (there’s no direct translation, but it essentially expresses to “I’m fucking over this”) and bemoans the grind of having to give one’s time and even a piece of oneself for “un poco de papel” (a bit of paper).

The title track, “Insania”, is an intense self criticism about shutting your eyes and just not caring about what happens in your life and damning everyone, because of the failure and lost moments you feel. It beats ferociously, yet features moments that resolve and even sound melodic, much like the album overall. Discontent with oneself, society, and this world “donde todo es mentir” (where everything is lying) is hammered throughout the album, but in conjunction with a search for truth and authenticity.  


Insania closes with “Nada Vale” (Nothing is Worth It), which is the closest in offering a touch of optimism. Becerra sings about no one being perfect, but also striving to hide his defects. He mentions, “tus ojos me iluminaron, despertaron mi conciencia” (your eyes illuminated me, they awoke my conscience), and for a second you think it might end ok. It then goes into one of the few guitar solos on the album, justly featuring Zamora Ibarra’s skills. The vocals return with repetitions of “nada vale en este mundo…” (nothing is worth it in this world…”), deflating that brief moment of hope and closing the album in the same sense of exasperation in which it started.

Since first listening to this album about a month ago, it continues to be one I’m listening to regularly! While I’m an admittedly lyrics focused listener, I have no doubt that the overall sound is enough to hook anyone, even those who don’t understand Spanish. And wow, now I really want to see these guys play live!

E-Hoe is a sometimes guest writer, part time world traveler, and full time high school Spanish teacher. When she’s not collecting bruises in the pit, she’s logging miles on her bike. 

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