Although hardcore band Xibalba has been a part of the greater heavy-music consciousness for several years at this point, Mexican black-metal group Xibalba Itzaes ("Itzaes" is a recent addition to their name) came together decades prior. Both talk of Mexican pride and delve into ancient Mexican culture in their lyrics, but until very recently their respective reigns did not overlap. That's because Xiblaba Itzaes split up more than 10 years before the formation of Xibalba. They've returned now to put their flag into the ground and remind the world who came first with their new LP, Ah Tza Xibalba Itzaes, due via Nuclear War Now on December 15th, the band's second LP ever and first in 24 years.
Xibalba Itzaes practices a particularly nasty, sneering type of black metal, devoid of all of the shine that you can find in the latest Watain or Abbath releases. Instead, what you get is pure raw hate, just as much punk as it is metal, a throwback to the earlier strains of the genre. The seventh track on the LP, "Nine Steps Below," starts with a tribal drum beat, before fading out and going full-on black-metal fury — not far removed from Absu's classic "Pillars of Mercy," with some really odd and effective riffing. The whole thing is very lo-fi, but never crosses into self-parody to the point where quality is compromised for an aesthetic; rather, the production here actually lends itself to a darkness that fits the bant. Check out "Nine Steps below" for the first time and look out for the LP on Nuclear War Now.