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Back in the Day

Forget Santa Claus! Bang Your Head to 80s Spanish Metal Demons SANTA


Original vocalist Azuzena (Azuzena Dorado, pictured above) was known as the Queen of Spanish speed metal. Before joining Santa (not to be confused with Tierra Santa, a metal band from Los Rioja, Spain), Azuzena was the vocalist for Huracán. At one of Huracán's gigs in the early 80s Fernando Sánchez and Juan Luis Serrano, members of the band Obús saw her perform.

Obús were enjoying success after winning the Rock Festival of Villa de Madrid in 1981, and after "discovering" Azuzena, they would help assemble the band, produce their record, and pen a few tracks on Santa's first record, Reencarnación. Following its initial release, Reencarnación would sell a swift 17,000 copies after its initial pressing, putting them on the Spanish heavy metal radar, and then some.

As a vocalist, there is no disputing Azuzena's power. Her incredible chops are accentuated by her stage persona, a fusion of hair metal, fierce glam makeup, leather, spikes, and pure metal prowess. The band itself is full of talented musicians previously aligned with other Spanish metal bands such as Ñu (Spain's answer to Jethro Tull) and Panzer.

When it comes to Santa, it's all about Azuzena and her ability to completely own the stage whenever she's on it. That said, not much, if any live footage of the band exists online. Thankfully, since it was the 1980s, Santa made a bunch of videos, and watching them is like opening up some sort of vault deep within the archives of the Headbangers Ball.

Azuzena has been compared to another great lady of metal, Leather Leone of vintage 80s bands Rude Girl and Chastain, an accurate comparison any singer would be humbled by. For my money, Azuzena's vocals and composition of the title track from Santa's debut are reminiscent of Ronnie James Dio/Dio, specifically 1983's "Stand Up and Shout." Reencarnación came out in 1984, so both bands were riding a similar vibe on opposites sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Ain't metal fucking grand?

Though we lost Azuzena at the age of fifty in 2005 from pulmonary edema, we can still worship at the altar of Santa through the band's videos.

Santa, 'Reencarnación.'

'No Mercy for the Damned.'

'Paper Hero.'

Santa's incredible ballad and Reencarnación's final track, 'To Survive.' 

Footage of Santa's appearance in the 1984 film 'Los Zancos' performing the song 'Without Compassion.' 

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