With one of the longest histories of any civilized country, there is a lot to both unpack and be inspired by when it comes to the metal bands blooming inside of Peru. Out of the 34 million people in the country, the few thousand who have started metal bands have done so with a sense of heritage involved. Civilizations directly related to or coming out of Peru include the Caral-Supe civilization, the Nazca culture, the Wari empire, the Kingdom of Cusco, the Inca Empire, and Spanish settlements which founded the city Lima as their headquarters.
If visiting Peru, once you’re finished exploring Machu Picchu, hit the clubs to explore the extensive metal scene of the third largest country in South America. Here are some of the killer bands you might see.
M.A.S.A.C.R.E. (Heavy metal)
Doing an article about Peruvian metal and not including M.A.S.A.C.R.E. would be like doing an article on Brazilian metal and not including Sepultura. The flagship metal band from Peru, M.A.S.A.C.R.E — an acronym for “Metal Avanzando Siempre Ante Cualquier Rechazo Existente (metal always advancing against any existent rejection)” — started in 1984 by the Tuesta brothers. With their first album Sin Piedad, the Tuestas created a legacy as important to Peruvian metal as what the Abbott brothers’ was to Texas. The band were first inspired by NWOBHM, though later took influence from the thrash and speed genres. They’ve had many milestones throughout their 30-plus year career, including opening the first Iron Maiden concert in Peru in 2009.
Kranium (Thrash/folk/doom metal)
Bringing a much needed extremity to the Peruvian scene in 1984, Kranium laid waste to the clubs before releasing their first demo in 1992. By 1999, the band’s sound progressed to include folk elements, with Peruvian wind instruments accompanying a Sabbath-inspired doom sound. Despite the death of keyboardist Georgy Espiritu in 2012, their legacy lives on, with the band recently releasing Uma Tulla in 2020, which is a fine example of the best elements of metal and Peruvian folk myths.
Yana Raymi (Folk metal)
To measure the influence of Peruvian metal artists on each other, you just need to look at Yana Raymi, who took their name from the Kranium song “Intro: Yana Raymi” in addition to some of their folky atmosphere. Yana Raymi doubles down on the South American cultural characteristics, basing songs on Andean, Inca and Wanka mythologies. As the band wears their culture on their sleeves, it’s only fitting that their music video for “Ancho Y Ajeno” balances hard hitting jam session footage with scenes of a simple life in the lush hills.
Chaska (Folk metal)
Staring in 2002, Chaska are a folk metal band whose lyrical themes involve South American native cultures. The name comes from a Quechua word used by the Incas to mention the most shining star in the skies (Venus). Chaska are legit in maintaining a distinct cultural sound, with member Ronald Quispe performing the charango, quena and zampoña, which are traditional Peruvian folk instruments. The band only have one full-length album out so far, but check out their “Nymph of the Lake” video to get a good representation of their sound.
Necropsya (Thrash metal)
Thrash is one of the more popular genres in Peru, with a few dozen bands such as Arsenal, Epilepsa and Maze of Terror turning Lima into the next San Francisco Bay. Necropsya have been bringing undead, bloodthirsty thrash to the masses for over two decades and as of this year, see no signs of slowing down, playing alongside bands like Anal Vomit and headlining the Total Thrash Attack 2022 festival. Once you’re finished spinning their latest, Inhuman Pestilence, check out guitarist Walter Costa’s other bands such as Blasphemous Division, Spectral Souls and Metal Crucifier.
Sepulcro (Thrash metal)
Sepultura’s Peruvian little brother? Sepulcro (formerly Satanaika), formed back in 1987. Throughout their early years, the band slung out demo tapes to spread the word about the band,while also appearing on compilations by Cuero Negro Magazine. It wasn’t until 2018 when they released their first full-length, the sinister Vengeance, accompanied by a nasty Vic Rattlehead look-alike brandishing a smoking firearm on the cover. Refuse, resist and arise with Sepulcro now.
Mortem (Death metal)
“The true Mortem” are one of those legendary bands from Peru whom deserve their own documentary. These guys were one of the first death metal bands in Latin America, starting way back in 1986 (they used to call themselves black metal then, before the term was restructured), and have been carving out their legacy since. The band has played countless festivals abroad, and have opened for acts like Immolation in 1994 (the first time a death metal band played Peru), Slayer in 2011 and Annihilator in 2013. There is a lot of wickedness to explore with Mortem, though 1995’s Demon Tales and 1998’s The Devil Speaks in Tongues are good starting points.
Anal Vomit (Black/death metal)
If there is one band name you’ll remember from this article a few days from now while sitting on the crapper, it’s bound to be Anal Vomit. The band have been around since the early ‘90s, putting out their first demo, the colorfully titled Pregnancy Rotten Masturbator, in 1993. Since then, these guys have become a legendary underground force in Lima and beyond, bringing Peruvian hell to the vomit-thirsty fans. Their latest EP, Graveless Dead, proves there are more chunks within the boys ready to be shat out…or is that hurled out?
Goat Semen (Blackened death metal)
Actually, forget what I said earlier: the band name you’re going to remember from this is definitely Goat Semen. To examine the power of the name Goat Semen, let’s look at a quote from the modern-day classic A Serbian Film: “Rare kind of monks put seven adult he-goats into a shed during summer. They leave them for a month until their balls are like melons. When they get too hot, they start fucking one another. The monks take the dried bloody cum off their balls and mix it with milk. It makes the finest bread spread there is.” So, there you go: not just evil sounding, but the finest bread spread there is, and with the Peruvian band, some of the finest blackened death metal there is in that country.
Hadez (Black/death metal)
Another early black metal band that creeped Lima’s club scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s are Hadez, releasing cassette tapes such as Altar of Sacrifice and Extreme Badness on the World before dropping their hellish debut LP Aquelarre in 1993. What you’ll hear on a Hadez record is what you’d expect hearing the name and seeing naked people getting prodded by demons on their album cover cover — a raw, scorched soundtrack to strolling through Hell. The Hadez attack continued with more full-lengths going into the 2000s and 2010s, with their live album Live Sacrifice being a culmination of their career until this point.
Raped by Pigs (Slamming brutal death metal)
Leave it to the slam bands to conjure up a name as brutal and/or disturbing as the music they create. Raped by Pigs is made up of five strapping young swine whom got together in 2009 and soon began to march and squeal. Squealing to the New World was unleashed like a rabid piglet with a taste for human bacon in 2014, Mental Diseases and Congenital Malformations saw the piglet become a sadistic sow, and with 2021’s Gushing Orgasms compilation, moldy leftovers were nuked and served again in the trough. Take your pick and get ready for the slop drop.
Smelling Fetid Corpse (Grindcore)
It would be unfair to leave out good old fashioned grindcore from this list, and who better than Smelling Fetid Corpse (or SxFxCx)? Fronted by Alice Vomiterror, the band have been around since 2004, releasing a myriad of splits and one full-length, Apathy, in 2018. The band, like grind bands across the world, are very clear about their viewpoints, especially animal welfare, with distressing photos of bulls and chimps in cages on their record sleeves. The music? As fast and ferocious as expected.
Tunjum (Ancestral death metal)
The three-piece known as Tunjum present death metal with a touch of ancient Muchik cultural elements in order to create a sound that is truly dark, bludgeoning and ancestral. Underground label Dunkenheit Produktionen out of Germany took care of their first full length release, Deidades del inframundo, which is as savage as the cover promises to be. This band consistently offers a worthy sacrifice to the ancient gods whom demand blood.
Hyena (Heavy metal)
A group of young rock n’ roll heathens dressed from head to toe in tight leather and bullet belts, Hyena are part of the new generation of musicians in Peru who are going for a more purified, classic metal sound. Since 2018 they’ve slung out a few meaty bites in the form of singles and EPs, but the main course from Hyena hasn’t arrived yet. We await a bloody zebra carcass of a full-length to chow down on with the rest of the pack.
Hamadria (Power metal)
It’s time to end this list on a note of optimism. Hamadria are a fairly new band (forming in 2006) with one full-length album under their name, Reina Azul from 2018. If you go search for “Peru metal” on YouTube, Hamadria’s video is the first one that pops up, having 131 thousand views at this moment, so they must be doing something right. As with a lot of modern power metal bands, Hamadria present a storm of pleasant-sounding notes to hang with soaring female vocals. As their popularity increases, so might the Peruvian scene, so remember to hit those ‘Like’ and ‘Subscribe’ buttons.
For more Peruvian metal bands, check out this expansive video featuring 100 metal bands in Peru which helped with the research for this article.