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Ankla- Steep Trails

November 1, 2007

Ankla- Steep Trails,

Bieler Bros. Records, Inc. (

High-powered, Latin Metalcore that gives all other metal bands a run for their money

If you’re a sucker for mind-numbing guitar riffs and face-melting solos, Ankla is your band.

Spanish for anchor, Ankla hits home with their latest release, Steep Trails. The dissonance throughout the album is near perfection, making the listener constantly crave  more.

Ankla is not your average, gnarly hardcore metal; it is a blast of energy, a fusion of Latin sounds and heavy-metal elements. Formed by Puerto Rican guitar god Ramon Ortiz, Ankla delivers metal with a whole new edge.

Every track on the album is jam-packed with energy and the kind of passion that makes you want to jump in the middle of the mosh pit and mess some people up. The power in “Step Ahead” is overwhelming in the best way possible. Singer Ikaro Stafford Santana rips through the song with searing vocals, accompanied by heavy, pounding bass (thanks to bassist Edgar Gonzales), and once again the no-less-than-astounding Ortiz on guitar.

Although Ankla is described as Latin metalcore, the Latin vibe and percussion aren’t overwhelming at all. Percussionist Oscar Santiago does an expert job of mixing metal and Latin into a head-pounding, forceful, vibe-filled work of awe-inspiring metal creation. The Latin and tribal percussion is intertwined awesomely throughout, in a not-too-rampant manner. The Latin vibe is most prevalent in tracks such as “Scattered Existence,” “Intro Sinking,” “Deceit” and “Flush.”

Like I said before, Ortiz is clearly the master of his game on guitar. His work sends shivers up the spine in “Seasons Never Change”-a song which almost feels too repetitive until it blows the listener away with changed-up vocals and a killer guitar solo.

One of the most powerful songs on the album is “Still Alive,” a piece that is filled with the hard-core emotions and powerful punches that make metal fans go wild. The song channels System of a Down in the chorus, and is heavily laden with the guitar work that makes Ankla such pure and utter bliss to listen to. Pepe Clarke Magana’s drumming is psychotic and chaotic, carrying the song through on a high-paced level. This song is the star of the album.

If you’re aching for that sound that gives you the urge to jump in the pit and throw up some violent devil horns, plug into Ankla immediately. They are heavy-metal on crack-in a good way. It’s the metal that metal-heads love, but presented in an amped-up, Latin manner that will never grow boring.

Emily Craner

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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