This is the debut album from US death/doom band Tzompantli.
Tlazcaltiliztli contains 33 minutes of crushing death/doom, brought to us by members of Teeth and Xibalba. The band’s take on doom-infused death metal is terrifying and harsh; Tlazcaltiliztli is one of the foulest and most baleful albums I’ve heard in a while.
This is death/doom with added folk instruments and themes, which has resulted in a thick malevolent atmosphere to accompany the brutal delivery of the core style. An air of menace and sinister intentions surrounds these songs like a miasma of terror. The band make the absolute most of the atmosphere they create, merging it with the brutality that lives at the heart of the songs to create an album that feels like it’s manifesting pure evil.
The songs are absurdly heavy, with thick, tar-like riffs and rhythmic, organic drums that sound like you’re standing right next to the drum kit. And speaking of the riffs, there are some corkers here; Tzompantli’s music makes you want to move while it horrifies. You can hear the Xibalba influence in the guitars – imagine Xibalba’s huge riffs, only more death metal, (including some Morbid Angel-esque groove in places), and more rotten.
The vocals are mainly pitch black death growls that swallow all light. The singer sounds inhuman, like a monstrous entity has escaped the underworld to sow terror and nightmares across the land. Other styles also appear, enriching the music when they do so.
Tlazcaltiliztli is an impressive piece of work. Tzompantli have carefully crafted music that strikes an uncommon balance between riff-heavy immediacy and deeply atmospheric depth.
Very highly recommended.