There was a time when Carlos Salazar was the unclean vocalist of Before There Was Rosalyn, a millennial metalcore band from Houston. Their reign was by no means short, but five years have already passed since their farewell show. Although the BTWR epoch has ended, he hasn’t lost the desire to share his perspective and wisdom with the world. And on, Amor en Tierra Ajena (Love in a Foreign Land), he elects to do so through an unconventional medium – spoken word.
Salazar’s debut album is poetic eloquence. With a level of intimacy that few would be brave enough to share, he allows a walk-through of his world and narrates the milestones that define his journey. Whether through the incredibly confident and tastefully sensual memories of “Wilde Nights” or the unresolved sense of paternal absence in “Forgive,” Salazar spares no details nor emotion. With descriptions that bleed from the overflow of his heart, he uses his experiences as fuel for the fire in his storytelling.
There is one song in particular, the opening track “Time Does Not,” that is particularly memorable. It takes on the heavy issue of immigration and the archaic weight such stereotypes bring. As only one who has been there could, Salazar shares this perspective through his own truth – the only truth he knows. Through his words, we reap the magnitude of value in this album’s discourse; it only continues to grow as it progresses, going on to pontificate on death, lost love, and many of the quandaries of life. Amid all the loss Salazar conveys, there is also a rich cache of experience in love, as the title alludes. He manages to capture a feeling of antiquity and classic attraction to a new love in “By Moonlight.” Later, he remembers how one moment altered his life (and memories) forever in the sweetly reminiscent “Way of Colorado.” These songs bolster the theme Salazar impresses throughout: that though time marches on, love never truly dies.
As with any project whose core is wrapped around baring your soul, Amor concludes with impact. Of all the tracks on the album, “Journal Entry” is by far the least guarded. With fervor, Salazar addresses his journal in a way that feels like he’s on the line with God himself. He confronts the people he’s lost, his faith, and his existence.
As Salazar espouses one last time, he identifies one of the feelings we all embrace: we haven’t yet found all of the answers we seek. Yet there’s something comforting in the verbal silence of the last 30 seconds of this album, a looming implication that not every story ends in the resolution we expect. All this considered, it seems fair to assume (and hope) that this is only the prequel to many sections of Salazar’s spoken word story that has yet to be told.