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Despite its demographic size and socio–cultural importance in Latin America, and unlike Brazil, Mexico or Colombia, Argentina didn't produce many first rate hardcore and punk bands during the 80's. But still, Los Violadores are probably among the pioneers of Punk Rock in the area. Guitarist Hari B. formed Los Testiculos in Buenos Aires in 1978, while the military dictatorship (who ruled the country between 1976 – 1983) was at the peak of their power. The regime, that in a couple of years murdered more then 30,000 left wing activists (or that were suspected to be so), saw any act of non–conformity as potentially subversive, so obviously the first generation of Argentinian punks was very much underground. But they still managed to survive.
In 1980, Hari B., together with drummer Gramatica, changed their name to Los Violadores. Due to censorship, they were unable to publicly use the new "offensive" name for a while, so they ommitted just one letter and remained "Los Voladores" for the early show fliers. About a year later, they were joined by vocalist Pil Trafa and bassist Stuka. After one of the first shows with this line up, about 200 hundred persons were arrested and the band members were charged with "political disturbance", thus gaining public notoriety and making it clear that Punk was alive in Argentina. As they put it "We wanted to make something that was punk but still rooted in our reality. We didn't want to be part of the complacent Argentinian rock scene, which was silent during the dictatorship and thus partner for the atrocities". They were one of the few bands which refused to take part in a huge rock concert sponsored by the military dictatorship as part of the Falkland/ Malvinas war propaganda campaign, even though they were surprisingly invited to participate. Ironically, many of those who did appear there were actually self professed hippies, who probably saw punk as something "violent and fascistic". Los Violadores pointed at that hypocritical "hippy ideology" as their second main enemy after the military regime.
Also in 1982 they recorded their first (self titled) LP, which could only hit the streets in late 1983, after democratic elections took place. It was released by the Argentinian independent label Umbral and it includes 12 great tracks with excellent production. Unlike the raw, thrashy hardcore produced in neighboring Brazil, Los Violadores are more '77 influenced, althought with an updated sound, kinda like Generation X meets DOA.
After the return of democracy, Hari B., who thought that the main reason of existance for the band was to fight the dictatorship, quit. He played for a short time with Argentinian's Oi! pioneers Comando Suicida, long before they became full-fledged boneheads. In 1984, Los Violadores were asked to contribute a track for the now legendary P.E.A.C.E. compilation, being the sole representatives of Latin American punk among the 40+ other bands and maybe making a small name for themselves in the international punk community. In fact, Argentinian rock magazines reported that there was lots of interest in the band from Europe and that they sold thousands of copies in the "old world", but that seems pretty unlikely.
By then, they were already changing direction towards a more commercial one, something typical for many bands from the era. Their second LP Y Ahora Que Pasa, Eh? is definately more rock/pop influenced, but in my opinion still enjoyable. They kept playing until the early 90's and even after that, they reformed several times, but their output is totally irrelevant to these pages. Their old material was reissued on CD by the major they had signed with, but their first LP was bootlegged on vinyl a couple of years ago.
LOS VIOLADORES LP (Umbral, 1983)
Y AHORA QUE PASA, EH? LP (Iempsa, 1985)
FUERA DE SEKTOR LP (Umbral, 1986)
PEACE 2xLP (R Radical Records, 1984)
KILLED BY DEATH #40 LP (bootleg, 1998)