Xibalba | ‘Hasta La Muerte’
Sometimes a band comes along that redefines what you think of as heavy.
We all have our own measures for this. Speed, guitar tone, how hard the guy hits the snare – there are a lot of variables.
The only thing about Xibalba that seem to vary is just how much they hate you: and so each song is basically a gradation on how much of a pounding you want to take.
Although spawned from the hardcore scene, they’re closer in tone to a Latin American Crowbar mixed with New York brutes Pyrexia – the sound of both bands is literally all over this punishing album.
It’s basic stuff. Everything about it is uncomplicated, and expressed simply to crush.
‘No Serenity’ opens with their hardcore creditials and a furious beat, but the tar-black gloop starts dripping over everything only a moment later. ‘Soldedad’ sounds even doomier still, with a slothful drag whose cymbals sound like spades clashing.
When it speeds up, there’s a bit of Crisis in here, in the drumming department anyway, which will please crossover fans yet further.
It all chugs along in thunderous fashion until abourt two thirds of the way through. At this point things seem to slow down to a sick dirge, with tracks like ‘The Flood’ borrowing more from Morbid Angel’s slowest numbers than anything else that comes to mind.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence the cover looks reminiscent of ‘Gateways To Annihilation’. There’s definitely plenty of Trey’s cardboardy tone and ugly third harmonies right across this album.
Yet in no way is it death metal, or even death metal influenced. Strange.
‘Stone Heart’ has some unexpected clean singing, giving it a little more doomed melody, but by the time the marginally faster ‘Lujuria’ weighs in near the end, frankly you’re just exhausted of them.
It’s been a long time since I’ve spun a record so heavy it did that. The question to all potential buyers: can you take it?
3.7 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 30/7/12