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Hacavitz – Metztli Obscura

Felicidades a Mexico y Chile on celebrating the 200th anniversaries of their independence from Spain (last Thursday and Sunday, respectively)!

For the occasion, Mexico has no better metal representative than Hacavitz. Since 2003, the band has explored the mythology of Mexico’s indigenous Mayan (the band’s name comes from a Mayan mountain god), Aztec (the band frequently cites Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec god of the underworld), and Nahuatl peoples. It’s interesting to see concepts like the underworld or winds bringing destruction (see also the Oskoreien and the Plague of Locusts) translating across different cultures. But Hacavitz aren’t just historians; they are anti-Christian and occasionally reference Ol’ Scratch himself. So they wage the war on light with atypical weaponry (speaking of which, see also Canada’s polytheistic Weapon).

“Ye Parani Eojtocomol”

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Their musical weaponry is more typical, but no less sharp. Hacavitz’s death/black metal has the jagged-yet-precise attack of Morbid Angel and Slayer. Metztli Obscura (Moribund, 2010) flexes that attack more dynamically than ever. Guitars pulse back and forth between high-register string rakes and low-register riffs. This movement is vigorous and organic; one feels like one is indeed riding the “Sulphur Winds”, dealing death from above. Songs no longer just have one speed (fast). They trace a journey of peaks and valleys through a vibrant underworld.

Hacavitz sometimes enlist outside help for lyrics in Mexico’s indigenous languages, but they also sing in Spanish. And the music they play, metal, is European in origin. It might seem ironic for them to defend indigenous values with colonial tools, but they’ve addressed that issue. When asked in an interview why they sing in Spanish, they replied,

“We’re not paying tribute to the Spanish conquerors, no way! The conflict is we was [sic] born under this tongue and we can express much more and correctly any feeling than using dialects that hardly [any] persons could learn and even know”.

They could probably say the same thing about metal. That is simply how they express themselves. If they can use the Europeans’ own weapons against them, then so much the better.

“Hablan los Muertos”

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— Cosmo Lee

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