Peru - Lima
Band history and discography compiled by Federico
After several years of military rule (which shifted from a more nationalist/populist orientation in the beginning towards bureaucratic authoritarianism in its last years), democracy came back to Peru in 1980. The elected government tried to implement a neoliberal economic program, with the result being that by 1983, unemployment and underemployment were rampant, affecting perhaps two-thirds of the work force and causing the minister of finance to declare the country in "the worst economic crisis of the century." About a third of Lima's population lived in the slums (shantytowns) called pueblos jovenes or "young towns." Outside the capital, the situation was even worse.
Such conditions were a breeding ground for social and political discontent, which erupted with a vengeance in 1980 with the appearance of the Maoist Sendero Luminoso ("Shining Path") and other armed radical leftist groups such as the Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru (MRTA).
Because of widespread cocaine consumption in the United States and Europe, demand for coca from the Andes soared during the late 1970s. Peru became one of the largest coca producers in the world. The will to control the profitable trade led to violence between Peruvian and foreign "cartels," leftist guerrilla organizations, military/paramilitary groups and the growers themselves. By 1985, these violent clashes had resulted in the death of over 6,000 Peruvians and over US$1 billion in property damage. That was the reality that Peruvian punks in the 80s, like the members of Ataque Frontal, had to deal with.
Even though Peru had a healthy rock tradition, dating back to the 60's and 70's (with bands like Los Doltons, Los Yorks and Los Shains) the Peruvian underground scene exploded around 1983-5, with punk and hardcore bands like Leusemia, Autopsia, Zcuela Crrada, Narcosis, Eructo Maldonado, Psocosis, Panico, Flema, Luxuria, Juventud La Kaigua, Sociedad De Mierda, Eutanasia, Radicales and Guerrilla Urbana, among many others. Some of those bands released demos, even though the only band to make it to vinyl then were Leusemia with their debut LP released on a local label in 1985. Still, some of the concerts attracted hundreds of people and the whole movement gained enough interest to be the subject of several articles and university papers and even a documentary movie titled "Grito Subte", featuring many of the aforementioned bands.
Guerrilla Urbana started in 1984, playing their first show the next year. The band was around long enough to record a demo, which appeared on a split tape with the Spanish band H.H.H. and was released by the French label Jungle Hop Records. But after many lineup changes that left guitarist Jose Eduardo as the only original member, they also changed their name in order to avoid hassle from the authorities: with real armed oppositon going on in the country, naming yourself after one of their tactics wouldn't make your life any easier. The name "Ataque Frontal" probably seemed militant enough but maybe a little more subtle.
Ataque Frontal managed to play several shows in their hometown of Lima, even though ideological differences with promoters limited their shows' possibilities. They also published an anarchist oriented 'zine and also recorded a demo in 1986, that was pressed as a 7" by the French label New Wave in 1987. The single epitomizes 80's Latin American punk, with angry hoarse vocals and raw production. As far as I know, they disappeared afterwards, leaving the stage for new Peruvian hardcore bands such as G-3 (ex-Autopsia), Kaos and Futuro Incierto.