Hardcore death Metal band Xibalba return with second release 'Hasta La Muerte'. The album delivers what can be expected from something that takes its influences from Evil and Darkness, and with its sludgy undertones keeps a mid paced tempo throughout.
The first three tracks, 'No Serenity', 'Soledad' and 'Laid To Rest', set a good standard for the album, offering more on each play and allowing you to discover the different layers, whether it's a stray surfacing groove or how hard the drums are being beaten to death.
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They show how easily Xibalba can move from sluggish and doom ridden to faster, head banging riffs without losing momentum.
There is a larger Spanish theme than previous offering 'Madre Mia Gracias Por Los Dias'. 'Hasta La Muerte' roughly translates as 'Until Death' and almost-title-track 'Hasta La Muerta' is sung in Spanish. Though many people may not understand the lyrics, the meaning of the song is clear through the way the vocalist spits the words, seeming more enraged in order to convey their message.
In the middle, instrumental 'The Flood' crawls through percussion sections that sound like there is an impending disaster, and guitars that give a feeling of immense dread. It leads subtly into the next track so that when the vocals next appear, they are harder hitting.
Many of the songs radiate an ominous, uneasy feeling; a formula that is sometimes over used, but it is demonstrated best on 'Cold'. Its desolate and drawn out intro leaves you wondering when the next dose of hate will hit you.
On an album that is so crushingly heavy, the biggest surprise is the gentle female vocals on 'Mala Mujer'. Although at first they sound out of place, a second wave disproves this and confirms that they are a welcome change and oddly, fit quite well.
Xibalba haven't topped 'Madre Mia Gracias Por Los Dias' but it is clear they have the potential to in the near future.