Xibalba translates to "Place Of Fear" meaning a place where the evil go when they die in Mayan culture. There is no more fitting name for what Xibalba, the band, do musically. Over the past few years the band has managed to build a relentlessly heavy sound giving nods to Max Cavalera era Sepultura and Disembodied. These influences are readily apparent in the bands heavily down tuned metallic style.
This release in itself acts as a catch up to those not familiar. Allowing for a remastering of their prior releases. This Includes the Madre Mia Gracias Por Los Dias full length released in 2009 as well as the more recent three way split with Ruckus and World Of Pain. This allows for the bands output to be taken in by the listener as a whole and hear their progression. This is fortunate for most of us as the aforementioned full length had been hard to find and currently out of print.
The band work on one general level loud and heavier than pretty much any other band in hardcore. This allows for the bands' riffing to take center stage mostly relying on a nasty sounding riff leading the charge while the other guitar gets to play dynamics building on the structure and helping to differentiate the songs. This helps them stand out from most as the band, while making their metal influences known, let the guitars make more stylistic changes rather than relying on their main influence. While I am not saying that Xibalba are the most technical of bands they clearly understand the importance of dynamics to help keep the songs interesting.
The production, or rather remastering job, is done quite well. Everything is clear regardless of how low the tuning or how much of a sludge style the band plays with at times. This helps everything to pop from the speakers as the listener can hear each instrument with clarity. This makes for a more complete listening experience in general. Unfortunately this does little to help the issue of a discography disc as it lacks some cohesiveness that a full length tends to carry. On the other hand, even though the band has progressed they clearly know their style and have only built a bit upon it. If nothing else the band has done more to settle into their style between releases.
This is clearly a band on the rise. Southern Lord and A389 have done the smart thing to release their music now before more people catch on. The band could go a number of places with their mix of a few different metal styles in their hardcore mix. Needless to say it would do one well to get this and become familiar now and see where the band goes from here.
8.0 / 10
Posted Jan. 11, 2014, 12:18 p.m.
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