Xibalba have returned with a hellacious new record in the form of Años En Infierno, their first full length in five years. While death metal has always been a component to the band’s sound, it has come to the forefront on this record. Producer Arthur Rizk manages to capture the band in all of its fury without compromising brutality in favor of squeaky clean production. There are certain elements of the mix that sonically remind me of Rizk’s contributions to Power Trip, especially in the reverb soaked screams and metallic guitar harmonies.
An ominous and brooding sub bass buildup explodes into a head banging mosh riff accented by pounding double bass and washy ride cymbal pings. “La Injusticia” is a pounding mid tempo opener that sets the precedent for what’s to come, chugging breakdowns and guttural reverb soaked vocals courtesy of frontman Nate Rebolledo. “Corredor De La Muerte” starts with a thunderous tom buildup that leads into a Ride The Lightning-esque guitar harmony over a slow tempo groove.
The slower tempo doesn’t last long, as “Santa Muerte” picks the pace back up with frantic blast beats and palm muted thrash riffs. Some of the records heaviest breakdowns are found on this track, at least in this reviewer’s opinion. I was surprised to hear clean vocals on "El Abismo I", but they compliment the track's clean guitars and brooding vibe that is accentuated by moments of guttural bellows and dissonant guitar blasts.
Sparing you the play by play, the whirlpool of metal, hardcore, death and doom just feel so right when churned out track by track. Xibalba will be live streaming on Twitch tonight (5/28/20) at 9pm eastern. Años En Infierno is available tomorrow via Southern Lord Records.