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At Last, “Ah Tza Xibalba Itzaes”


Though the world zeroes in on the Norwegian scene as the impetus for the classic black metal sound, that approach is a little…. Nordic-centric. Even if the world would never be the same without Mayhem, black metal in the early 1990s was a global phenomenon. To offer a few examples, Sigh held the throne in Japan, Tormentor in Hungary, and, to the point, Xibalba Itzaes ruled Mexico.

Fading into eternity after their 1994 full-length Ah Dzam Poop Ek, the legendary Xibalba Itzaes (then known as just Xibalba — this was long before the hardcore band) took the cold, riff-centric Norwegian sound and transported it into the distant past. Thematically inspired by the ancient cultures of K’iche’ Maya (Mayan for the uninitiated) mythology and magick. Returning in 2007, this trio kept the flame alive through their primitive, breathtaking black metal art. Now, over a decade after their initial reunion, Xibalba finally unleashes their second full-length album, Ah Tza Xibalba Itzaes, which can be exclusively streamed in full below.

Bursting through the gate with “Ah Tza,” previously heard on 7″ EP of the same name, Xibalba plays the energetic game, sprinting at full tilt throughout the album’s length. For a black metal album, this is no feat, but the incensed, burning nature of Ah Tza Xibalba Itzaes speaks of decades of anticipation and restlessness.

It can be immediately noticed that this is no Ah Dzam Poop Ek, of course. To be quite honest, this sounds like a different band — the riffs are strange and malicious, the music a collection of stomping, evil beings from a time long since past. There could be the expectation for another Darkthrone-esque affair like their now 25-year-old debut, but this follow-up is so bizarre, so enthralling, so purely evil that it deserves to stand in its own right. This is black metal at its purest and most sinister.

The long-awaited Ah Tza Xibalba Itzaes will be digitally released next week on Nuclear War Now! Productions.

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