The modern history of Mexican rock has two eras: before and after “La Negra Tomasa,” the cumbia-rock cover immortalized on the self-titled 1994 album from Caifanes, the most important Mexican band of the late Eighties and the group that spearheaded the rock mexicano renaissance. And even though Caifanes recorded four fine albums (especially 1992’s El Silencio, a gem produced by Adrian Belew), the band’s dissolution — caused by a rift between leader Saul Hernandez and guitarist Alejandro Marcovich — was premature. To add to the problems, Hernandez developed throat problems, sparking rumors of the charismatic frontman’s ruin.

But Hernandez knew better. He renamed the band Jaguares (Marcovich owned the rights to Caifanes), retaining drummer Alfonso Andre and hiring Don Was to produce the band's debut, the powerful El Equilibrio de los Jaguares. Hernandez and the band followed that with Bajo el Azul de Tu Misterio, a Latin Grammy-nominated double CD (one live, one studio) that included a new guitarist: Cesar "Vampiro" Lopez, former guitarist for Maná (the gig was a dream come true for Vampiro, who hated Maná's soft pop). But it's the newly released third album, Cuando la Sangre Galopa, that shows Jaguares at their best. Produced by Hernandez and Andre, the album reached the top spot on the Billboard Latin charts, the first time ever for a rock album. Don't let their studio success fool you, though. Yes, Jaguares can mix, but in the end, this is an electric band, one that will appeal to the dark, vampire-looking Goths out there (at least, the ones who still want to live).


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