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Review: Xibalba - Ah Dzam Poop Ek
Ah Dzam Poop Ek

Label: Guttural Records
Year released: 1994
Duration: 45:52
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: April 3, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Readers Rating
Ah Dzam Poop Ek

Rated 3.71/5 (74.12%) (17 Votes)

Forming in the early nineties, Xibalba (taking their name from the underworld in Maya civilization) are one of those grass roots bands that you feel privileged to have come across. Not only do they put a different spin on black metal by basing lyrics on the Mayans, but they have a really evil ensconced aura that takes you by surprise, sounding somewhat like the music was created eons ago in the darkest corners of the underworld, before being discovered recently in ancient cuneiform, decrypted, bastardized and played through filthy guitars and dilapidated drums in the darkest depths of a jungle.

Soundwise, Xilbalba have a very Darkthrone-like vibe around them, albeit with a more rock and roll Venom-ish side at times. The album as a whole has a slight avant-garde vibe about it, with jazzy drumming keeping the rhythmic side of things together, as the guitars chime and slice in equal measures, while the Fenriz-like decaying vocals soar throughout in unfettered anguish. At times, the guitars are so dissonant that they sound as if they're going slightly out of tune, but rather than detracting from the album, it merely compliments the murky, ritualistic sound the band were trying to create. In fact, the occasional usage of rain sticks, strange guitar reverb drenched parts and almost tribal sounding drums on the track 'Bolontiku vahom' really adds to the historic feel of the album, allowing you to drift deep in to the genuine ancient vibes produced, creating pure musical escapism at its very best.

At times unhinged and raw, whilst still managing to retain their focus, Xibalba were certainly a force to be reckoned with. Thoroughly stimulating black metal for those who think they've heard it all before.

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