Xibalba
Años En Infierno


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
May 29th, 2020 | 81 replies


Release Date: 05/29/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Into the pit

California sludge/death metal outfit Xibalba have crafted an absolute scorcher on their fourth outing. Electric guitars sear and then simmer, as if to simulate the rage of a blazing fire followed by the crackle of its glowing aftermath. Vocalist Nate Rebolledo sounds weathered, his death growls tortured and prolonged. The drumming is crazed and maniacal, but also distinctly patterned. Años en Infierno – rather obviously translating to “years in hell” – feels akin to a systematic dismantling of one’s sanity. It’s the kind of hell we all find ourselves trapped in sometimes, and that’s what makes its anger, intensity, and confusion all the more relatable.

Some death metal bands aim to destroy everything in their path, striving for reckless abandon. This is not Xibalba: from the full stop and subsequent breakdown on opener ‘La Injusticia’ to the very elaborate and distinctive solo towards the back-end of ‘Santa Muerte’, the band makes it abundantly clear that in spite of the ferocity and mayhem on display, Años en Infierno will not be totally devoid of order. ‘Saka’ brings the drums to the forefront of the mix in an emphatically tribalistic fashion, while ‘El Abismo I’ wades into calmer and more lucid waters, featuring rare clean vocals and melodic guitars during the verses. The entire experience is very structured and heterogeneous, which can be a rare find when the instrumentation is this dense and blistering.

Xibalba are at their best when they contrast the murkiness of their core sound with musical eclecticism. Whereas ‘Corredor de la Muerte’, for example, feels like a plodding trudge through the scorched, tarry mud and smoggy polluted air of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, it’s kept to a rather brief two minutes to prevent the effect from stagnating. Immediately, they launch into ‘Santa Muerte’ – a clear highlight – which features straightforward, militaristic drumming and elaborately constructed, frantically-paced electric riffs to add a sense of complexity in light of other necessary but less exciting moments of bleak atmosphere-building. It's a balance Xibalba regularly achieves here, and it serves to keep things sounding both abysmal and exciting at all times.

Años en Infierno's resultant sound is one of layered chaos. The album is superbly constructed and offers plenty to take away from repeated listens. At the same time, it’s also a bludgeoning force capable of sweeping you away upon first impression. Nate Rebolledo anchors the experience with his wide range of vocals, plunging the record into darkness in a way that isn’t overly abrasive yet still manages to convey hellish pain and isolation. From there, the band takes your headspace and rapidly dismantles it via an expertly curated blend of disorientingly bleak atmospheres and deceptively complex riffing/drumming. Años en Infierno is a dive into mental instability, or the pit of hell itself – either way, it absolutely decimates.



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user ratings (62)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
May 29th 2020


34975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My first and probably last death metal review, go easy on me ;-)

This album absolutely decimates.

Digging: Nana Grizol - South Somewhere Else

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2020


26760 Comments


i thought this was going to be a xeno review.

i like the idea of you reviewing more metal, perhaps it could go some way into revitalizing that spark you were talking about in your blogpost.

first two paragraphs are kind of bland, but like you said you don't review DM often.

the second two have much more character and paint a much better picture as to how this sounds, even if think something like this might be better described by how it FEELS

good stuff either way

Digging: Axis of Light - Axis of Light

AsleepInTheBack
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2020


6500 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Jammed this a lil bit today, its noice.

Dimorphic
May 29th 2020


1304 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Love the Spanish language, and been looking for some new metal in the past couple of days. Definitely going to Czech this.

Digging: X-Ray Spex - Germfree Adolescents

botb
May 29th 2020


13892 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the best thing this band has ever done by far, and I’ve been a fan for going on 10 years

oltnabrick
May 30th 2020


39519 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this is amazing, def their best

Digging: Filth Of Mankind - The Final Chapter

robotmagician
May 30th 2020


1254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

anyone get aaron turner vibes from some of this guy's vocals? there's a particular quality to it that sounds so much like him, imo.

ZombieToyDuck
May 30th 2020


7203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Will have to check this...

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 30th 2020


34975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this guy's vocals are absolutely perfect. He pulls off the growls and guttural vocals in a way that is actually very listenable. Also the album coming in at a relatively short length makes this way more digestible.

ZombieToyDuck
May 30th 2020


7203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hmm didn't notice the length, definitely helps with this kind of metal for me as well. I get a bit tired of guttural screaming if an album like this becomes too lengthy too. This definitely gives me a bit of a Hatebreed vibe on this first track.

ZombieToyDuck
May 30th 2020


7203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

In the hardcore sense at least

oltnabrick
May 30th 2020


39519 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I hear 0 Aaron Turner in the vocals

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
May 30th 2020


9801 Comments


Well this sounds badass, throwing on asap

Digging: Nuvolascura - As We Suffer From Memory and Imagination

ZombieToyDuck
May 30th 2020


7203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wasn't speaking vocally

THISISMYWAR
May 30th 2020


526 Comments


do not like the new direction they're going in, especially vocally, but still shouts out xibalba

ZombieToyDuck
May 30th 2020


7203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is all kind of blending together for me not feeling enough differentiation.

botb
May 30th 2020


13892 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The pick scrape riff in Santa Muerte is insane

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 30th 2020


34975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^favorite track for sure, and that's an awesome moment :-)

ZombieToyDuck
May 30th 2020


7203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Okay... En la Oscuridad caught my attention again here was much needed pick up on the back half of this

ZombieToyDuck
May 30th 2020


7203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

back half of this is really helping it, loving the atmospheric stuff on El Abismo



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