Album Reviews

Bruxa Maria: Build Yourself A Shrine and Pray

On their latest LP, the London behemoth harness the chaos.

Chaos, grief, anxiety. All emotions fraught with fear and danger as the walls close in: the dark vortex. That perfect storm that sometimes envelops one’s world.

Perhaps there’s no better band in the U.K. that transfers these emotions to tape than London’s Bruxa Maria. Whether the band (Gill Dread – vocals, guitar; Dave Cochrane – bass; Paul Antony – drums; Robbie Judkins – synth noise) square up to these emotions, harness them, or completely embrace them is up for debate. In truth, it’s probably a mixture of all three, and through their sweltering build-ups and feral euphoria, over the past six years they have been at the forefront for all things progressive in the pantheon of harder-edged sounds.

There was no better example than 2020’s The Maddening: one of finest representations of punk-fuelled sludge-rock out of the U.K. in years. Dread’s performance was immense, and she just about bettered it 12 months later in collaboration with Jennie Howell as Gaffa Bandana with their debut LP, Fraught in Waves.

Bruxa Maria Interview: “One should not have to like someone’s art before they can see or accept the value it has to others”

While The Maddening was more like a Cobra bite, their latest sonic slab, Build Yourself A Shrine and Pray, sees Bruxa Maria morph into python-mode. Ear-splitting and radiating with undercurrents of subtle intricacies, Build Yourself A Shrine and Pray slowly grapples you into submission. Hemmed in and nowhere to go, this is where Bruxa Maria strike with withering force.

Once again enlisting gold dust merchant, Wayne Adams (Kulk, Big Lad, Remote Viewing), within the walls of his Bear Bites Horse Studios, Bruxa Maria strike up an alliance of wicked fever dreams and amphetamine sorcery inspired by the existential crisis.

Starting with the protracted eponymous track. A sea of droning guitars and splashing rhythms that sees Bruxa Maria baring fangs in search of their quarry.

Bruxa Maria - Build Yourself A Shrine and Pray

Dripping with venom and blood, on God Gun Scruples Dread’s vocals rush and roar. A cacophony of splintering noise and blast beats that feel as though you have been hurled into the abyss. It continues on the brilliantly titled Totalitarian Pissing, while on Dance Like Vasilli  and Run Pilgrim, Bruxa Maria give it the bunker sonics treatment – a howling mess that strips the paint from the walls of the dingy pubs that have been their natural habitat.

Which leads into one of the finest songs the band has produced from the vaults. Blind Side is multi-dimensional Bruxa. With all its aural pummelling and crafty tempo shifts, the band unleash the kind of flamethrower chaos that reminds us of why we fell in love with them in the first place. It’s simply dynamic.

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Covered in diesel and mechanic floor grime, Hospital Visit cannons from the speakers with a new form of primal evil, while the dirge-laden True Say is an assault of low-slung bass lines and bowel-twitching chug that’s like being held captive by a minotaur deep in the forest.

Accountability (Lose Your Job) and closing track, The Neck Verse, feed into the psychological warfare of The Maddening’s Pushed to the Brink of Madness Then Demonised. With voiceovers illuminating the kind of torment most of us experience at some point in our lives, sonically both are a far cry from the rest of Build Yourself A Shrine and Pray; however both tracks form the ideological core of the band. We wouldn’t have the rest of Bruxa Maria if it were for these left-field moments.

It feeds into Bruxa Maria’s un-tethered ways. A band simply not bound to anything, garnering shards from their influences and constructing their own hefty unit fit for destruction. Build Yourself A Shrine and Pray is yet another visceral chapter not only in the band’s story; in the years to come, Bruxa Maria will be a fundamental reference point when we look at underground music in the U.K.

Yes, Bruxa Maria are that important and Build Yourself A Shrine and Pray is further evidence.

Build Yourself A Shrine and Pray is out now via Riot Season. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

One reply on “Bruxa Maria: Build Yourself A Shrine and Pray”

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