It would be impossible to have missed the mark Xibalba have left on the hardcore scene thus far. The band has toured incessantly and released a small handfull of recordings in the past few years. A389 took notice last year and released a discography LP and shortly after Southern Lord took notice and staked a claim upon the band's follow up. That leaves us at the new record "Hasta La Muerte"
The band has mentioned in the past that they want to get heavier with each record. This coming from a band that carried similarities to both Entombed (Clandestine era) and Sepultura (pre - Roots era) seems near impossible if they plan to stay within the hardcore genre. Well I'm here to say they have done just that. The band build on their sound overall by adding their past influences and seemingly adding influence from some of their current label mates.
By adding parts that are more reminiscent of doom metal than anything else the band help to bridge their sound into something bigger and heavier. This is not to say they are less of a hardcore band for it. If anything they have managed to shame their peers in hardcore by being stronger than all. For every sludgy part slogging along their is a part blasted with such intensity that it makes everyone else sound like wimps. To cap this off (and possibly prove my point) they added the previously released song "Cold" to the end of the record. This version is splayed out to its boundaries at over six minutes with nearly the first 3 minutes sounding like something so heavy and foreboding that it could be fine on an Evoken record. This intro gives way to the blasting fury that is the original song.
The recording is immaculate as it accentuates everything about this band that needs to be there. The bass rumbles as the drums sound both feral and controlled. More than anything else the drums sound completely natural. The guitars sound absolutely deadly being sludgy and downtuned to hell without ever sounding messy.
The overall package is adorned with artwork from none other than Dan Seagrave (look him up). This is the perfect cover for a record that goes so far to be metal without being entirely metal. The band has done the near impossible gotten heavier and more distinct sounding without losing their footing in hardcore.
8.5 / 10
Posted March 21, 2020, 12:41 p.m.
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