Hasta La Muerte
I really, really don’t know how to sum up Xibalba. As in, should be be really liking this, or really hating it? It’s taken me a while to get round to this hardcore/sludge quintet, perhaps owing to a current lack of familiarity with Xibalba in the UK, with this new album eliminating any previous wonder I had about the band. Wonder no more, I guess. One way or the other, ‘Hasta La Muerte‘ is one of the ugliest, grimiest, nastiest records I’ve come across for quite a while.
If anyone came here expecting innovation, disappointment is thy name. Xibalba’s music is pretty much that of the lowest common denominator – the lack of pig squeals and general breakdown for breakdown’s sake mean its not quite deathcore, but its pretty close. Generally songs chug along in a fast/medium pace, eventually hitting a speedbump and generally building up with that ‘dun-dun-dun-dun-UUUUUUGGGH!‘ effect. Either that, or often just fast/slow/fast.
Thankfully, Xibalba’s pure bile and intensity make for a satisfying neck workout, if not a degree-level test. Setting its stall out from the beginning on ‘No Serenity’, ‘Hasta La Muerte‘ is full of truly brutal tunes designed to knock fifty shades of shit out of you and laugh at your broken body at once, from the Obituary-esque ‘Soledad’, the warrior-march of ‘The Flood’ and the truly venomous title track. Despite Southern Lord’s shift to the crusty side of hardcore, its good to see they have here a band that doesn’t overpreach about the world’s problems and at the same time is as reliably downcast both lyrically and musical aggression as the label’s back catalogue. Not the utmost greatest release all year, but no-frills, all (blood) spills is what ‘Hasta La Muerte‘ is all about. And by hell do they know how to bring them.
Xibalba – Soledad