Review: Xibalba – “Madre Mia Gracias Por Los Dias” (Southern Lord Records)

Hailing from Pomona, CA, hardcore death metal upstarts XIBALBA are ready for blood to spill. Xibalba is an ancient Mayan word that literally means place of fear or land of the dead. Mystical names attached to apocalyptic prophecies aside, XIBALBA kicks ass. Operating outside the current crop of typical bands, they are actually doing a style that is more like a hybrid of 90’s hardcore and death metal than modern deathcore. Downtuned and foreboding, the music definitely has the character and feeling of impending doom and is not for the faint of heart or soft in taste.

From the first notes of the aural assault that is “Bright Sun” you are not hearing any kind of trend jumping, prettied up metal for the masses. You hear bold hardcore and death metal inspired gut wrenching metal made for the stage, the mosh pit and most of all the microphone pile up. The band has as much in common with HATEBREED as they do THE ACACIA STRAIN, but again don’t call it deathcore. The slow, punishing main riffs will have you breaking your neck with glee and throwing the horns.  “Madre Mia“ is next and keeps the brutality level turned on high. The combination of urgent riffs and tight, technical playing really makes the track. “Never Kneel” just beats your ear drums senseless with insistent rhythms and crushing chord changes. There is a definite flavor here like OBITUARY and MALEVOLENT CREATION that continues on next track “Fallen”. Vocalist Nate Rebolledo sounds like he’s going to scream hard enough to make his lungs blow out of his chest. His gruff, bowel shattering vocals have an intensity to match the brooding feel of the music perfectly. “Time’s Up” sounds like a pre-Roots SEPULTURA with its killer drums supplied by Jason Brunes and the grinding riffs of guitarists Jensen Hucle and Brian Ortiz. The band is not afraid to try experimenting or take musical chances which I like, as heard on “We Deserve to Die”. In between brutal power grooves lay some intricate guitar work that may surprise you. Later on in the song it’s full on circle pit time. In addition to peppering the album with some cool intros via movie samples, the last third of the album contains their earlier releases as well. That way you get the full picture of what this band is capable of. Good music to either hurt someone else or yourself to.

RATING: 8 / 10
By: Keith “Keefy” Chachkes
Band Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/placeoffear

Review: Dysentery – “Internal Devastation” (Comatose Music)

If you’re a part of the New England metal scene, and you have never heard Dysentery before, then you have made it very clear that you are not really a part of the New England metal scene and should probably get the fuck out before you get smited. This is real death metal, not your washed up, swaying hair and girl pants wearing death core that today’s youth seems to think is considered death metal, and for Dysentery, this is easily their heaviest, strongest work yet.

When I first purchased the CD (that’s right, I said purchased, which is what all of you fuckers should do) I was definitely impressed by the clean appearance of the artwork, and thought to myself Wow, this is pretty damn cool. I then removed the packaging and saw the actual artwork, and was blown away, as with just about every album Mark Richards designs.

When you pop this into your cd player (or select it on your iPod, that is saying that you bought it from iTunes or something) they really do not give you a chance to warm up and get ready for what you’re going to be hearing. They immediately burst into some ridiculously heavy slamming, which is clearly what Dysentery is all about. Their last effort From Past Suffering Comes New Flesh (2008, Amputated Vein) was a solid, fucking heavy album in its own, but you can tell right from the start on Internal Devastation that the band has matured in every way, and this time, they mean fucking business, and that business is to slap you in the face with a fucking spiked baseball bat and watch you bleed out (and this album would be provide the perfect music for such an event). The production is very clear, but not overdone, which gives it a real classic, brutal feel that is what death metal is all about. What really caught my attention, aside from wondering how vocalist Will Caruso achieves such deliciously low gutturals, was that along with such powerful songs as “Beyond Light, Amongst the Shadows,” “From Creation to Dust,” and my favorite “Pernicious Passing,” they brought back some classic songs, like “Devourer of the Dead,” “Decimation of Fear,” and “Bound by Disease” to close the album, all still retaining their beautifully slamming, blast beat filled rage and overall power they originally had, but with that intriguing, in-your-face sound that this album has produced. Open up the book, and what you’ll find is some of the most powerful lyricism there is, not only in terms of death metal, but poetry in general, and it’s very clear that there have been some gut wrenching, emotional moments that occurred to make such a statement, and Will has no fear of holding back.

An overall solid effort and a job very well done by Dysentery, this is not your closet-case of a step-sons Bring Me The Horizon 12” record he scored on Ebay for the price of sucking off some dude behind the dumpster. This is death metal for the true, death metal for the proper fitting clothes, death metal that will one day be considered the elite of its time. I highly recommend buying this and blasting it on 11, then catching these guys at a show to see them in action. If it doesn’t make you want to slay babies, it will at least make you want to beat the shit out of everyone around you in a frenzy of delicious slammy goodness. Enjoy!

RATING: 10 / 10
By: Greg Mann
Band Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dysenterygrind

Review: Humanity Falls – “Ordaining The Apocalypse” (The Path Less Traveled Records)

As evidenced by the healthy amount of bands sprouting up left and right, my hometown of New York City is not short on talent or love or all things metal. With a taste for all things grind, technical and blasphemous HUMAITY FALLS is out on tour behind their recently released new record. Having had a few releases and lineup changes over the last few years, they have refined their sound and sharpened their musical axe into a new fine edge. Although they haven’t tried to conquer much new ground stylistically since forming this release sees a clear leap forward in talent and skills compared with their early days.

Firing off the opening salvo of “No Room for Ingenuity” finds the band pushing the boundaries of death, grindcore and weirdness. Guitarist Ammo’s string shredding riffs and random musical twists and turns are a force to be reckoned with. Equally impressive is drummer Ed Bednarek’s crazy fast hands and double kick work. The first song alone shifts tempos and genres constantly, but not so much that they lose the song. This is all topped off with fine vocal grotesquery from Eston Brown (ex-ANIMALS KILLING PEOPLE). Second track “Prolonging the Inevitable” is another sick track. A cross between classic death metal and over the top crazy grindcore influences the song is brutal and complex. The mid-song seasick sounding riffs sound like they should come with a bloody meat cleaver jumping out of your speakers. More aggressive playing and adventurous riff choices highlight the track. “To Have Or To Be” continues the madness with insane amounts of blasting beats and more impressive, blood curdling screams and growls from Browne. The discordant, off-kilter axe work from Ammo has as much in common with death metals proggier cousins as it does the typical names in the genre like SUFFOCATIONIMMOLATION and even MALEVELET CREATION. “The False Enmity” has some brilliantly structured motifs and head-spinning changes. For a change-up the band turns in the ethereal instrumental “At The Temple of Everlasting Condemnation” (great name!) that features some deftly acoustic sounding guitars plucking away and drenched in delay effects. This gives way to the title track which is fittingly the best thing the band has ever done. If you are a fan of the most extreme styles of music, this band is definitely one on the rise you should check out.

RATING: 8 / 10
By: Keith “Keefy” Chachkes
Band Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/humanityfallsband

Review: ABNORMALITY – “The Collective Calm In Mortal Oblivion” (DIY)

Abnormality is a death metal band from Marlborough, MA whom, to say the least, is just full of surprises. Not only does the music have many twists and turns that work in a beautiful, technical manner, but they have a female vocalist whom I can honestly say kicks the shit out of many male death metal vocalists out there. The Collective Calm in Mortal Oblivion is nothing short of intense. It’s fast, it’s heavy, it’s angry, and it’s very aggressive. It’s albums like this that remind me just why I love death metal.

The album starts out with a weird riff sounding like it was recorded in 8 bit, then kicks right in with a ridiculously heavy opening riff to the title track, which is full of everything you’d expect: lots of blast beats, fast riffs, and even faster double kick. The next two songs, titled “Hatred Relentless” and “Zealotry” both go by fast, reason being because this demo almost does not let up at all. The mini-solo on “Zealotry” brings
out a bit of a break from speed although there’s still that hammering double kick beneath everything, and then they continue with the aggression until the very end.The production is very clean, but still has a little bit of that raw, brutal sound that makes death metal what it is. It’s not an overproduced, over-edited sound that plagues most of today’s modern metal, yet everything can be heard clearly and every note is easily distinguished.

I have always been a fan of Abnormality since I first ever heard them, and in my opinion this is their best offering yet. It’s no wonder to me why this band is one of the more well-known death metal acts in the New England metal scene. My only complaint with this album is that it is not long enough. The three songs offered are a frenzy of intense death metal that just leaves the listener beggin’ for more, and we can only hope that there is a full length on the way. In the mean time, check them out on Myspace or Facebook, buy this demo, and do what you do to help keep bands like this alive and strong.

RATING:  10 / 10
By: Greg Mann