For Fans Of
Firstly, if El Presidente Cheeto-dust, ‘I hate Islam’ Twitterump (Sad!) ever succeeds in building his pointless, ineffective and absurdly expensive wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, then this reviewer sincerely hopes that someone blares Xibalba at an ear-piercing volume when they tear that motherfucker down!
Nothing could be more satisfying than listening to ‘Cold’ as someone swings a wrecking ball through steel, concrete and symbolic hatred.
Now, with that being said, this latest outing from the Americano masters of chaos is a relatively short affair, but rightfully so. Xibalba have never been ones to beat around the bush; every note, every minute has a purpose and that purpose is absolute devastation. No hope, no peace and no fucking surrender! This shit is dark, heavy and utterly bleak.
If that’s not your thing, then it probably never will be.
This three-track EP opens with ‘Diablo,’ the shortest track on offer and one which only needs a subtle, 30-second intro before the thick, low-end guitar tone announces the impending carnage. Duelling guitars battle for harmonic supremacy in the midsection, before frontman Nate Rebolledo’s caustic vocals scream “Devil in me!” as the track barrels into a monstrous beat-down. Sliding into ‘Con Amor,’ we get cracking snare hits, before being viciously assaulted by a blast-beat/lead riff combo that sounds straight off an early 90’s, Obituary bootleg. As the tempo cranks up, Xibalba seamlessly blends their hardcore punk roots with an austere death metal soundscape, accentuating the slower, down-tempo moments with deep, guttural growls.
Closer ‘Adios’ hints at the group’s progression since 2015’s ‘Tierra y Libertad’ with a five and half minute track that takes up almost half of the entire release’s run-time. Lyrically, Rebolledo’s choice of title here is fitting, as he screams “With love, I say goodbye/Here is my last stand, a sincere message/Maybe on deaf ears, but remember you and I.” It’s a heartfelt statement that, on the surface, might seem at odds with the 11-minutes of sonic torment that just transpired. However, a quick gaze at the EP’s cover artwork — a lone figure standing under a barren, crag archway, gazing at a distant visage; not yet through the threshold, but standing at the precipice — reveals the sombre and reflective tone imbued amongst Xibalba’s otherwise crushing and cathartic music.
Ultimately, ‘Diablo, Con Amor.. Adios’ delivers exactly what you expect it to: thick riffs, barrages of drums and angry, pissed-off vocals. With only three tracks on offer, there’s not much room to experiment or surprise, but then again, that’s never been Xibalba’s mission statement either. Speaking to CLRVYNT prior to the EP’s release, Rebolledo explains that “Xibalba is a very selfish band for us in the sense that we do this for us. The only reason I play shows is to hang out with my friends and visit some people, or be able to travel… There’s no agenda to try and make anything or push anything. It’s more, ‘Hey, here’s some music we put out, like it or not. I want to hang out with my friends and drink some beer.’”
And in this age of ‘fake news,’ reactionary social justice, and ‘so-called’ judges, you cannot be more sincere than that!