Released: 2010, Moribund Records
In doing my basic research for this blackened death metal band from Mexico, I also made some welcome, if accidental, inroads into finding out more about my regional Southeast Asian metal history. Singapore’s legendary black metal band Impiety has always lurked somewhere in the background of my consciousness as one of those bands I suppose I should know more about, being from a neighbouring country and being probably the only metal band from this region that has achieved anything resembling international success. And yet, I don’t know anything about them. Thanks to this band Hacavitz, I discovered the strange and quite wonderful link between two metal bands from opposite sides of the world.
The brains behind the current incarnation of Hacavitz – vocalist/guitarist Antimo Buonanno and drummer Oscar Garcia – made up two of the three Mexicans (the other was guitarist Eduardo Guevara, also in Hacavitz and Blood Reaping) in the 2004 Impiety line-up, when Impiety leader Shyaithan was left in the lurch after the departure of drummer Fauzzt and guitarist Fyraun and the band’s parting of ways with their record label Osmose. With the three quarter Mexican one quarter Singaporean line-up, Impiety signed with Agonia Records of Poland, released a split EP and an album, and toured Mexico and Asia. In 2006, the impracticalities of the situation forced Shyaithan to call an end to what was a frankly astonishing demonstration of the globality of metal, leaving Antimo and Oscar to concentrate on their pet beast, Hacavitz, who since then have released three full-lengths with their latest being METZTLI OBSCURA.
Hacavitz draw on their Aztec/Mayan/Meso-american roots and its related mythology for their lyrical content – ‘Hacavitz’ was a Mayan mountain god of Guatemala – and while this is a welcome departure from the usual Norse, pagan and Judeo-Christian themes that we’re more used to, it’s not showcased as effectively as it should be on METZTLI OBSCURA. Perhaps this is done on purpose to allow the band’s music to stand on its own...and their brand of blackened death metal still worships at the altars of Morbid Angel’s twisted Lovecraftian madness, with those ugly Trey-esque riffs snarling and churning in the forefront interspersed with Blut Aus Nord-type broken discordant chords, and grim but imaginatively organic drumming in the background keeping it all together. Grave-robbing gurgles and growls help the atmosphere along very well indeed, with a guest vocal appearance by Impiety’s Shyaithan on ‘Towards Black Pest’.
However, the major obstacle towards attaining any kind of atmosphere on METZTLI OBSCURA is the low volume at which the album is mixed. Sure, this isn’t a problem if you can turn up your expensive stereo or laptop, but I’m thinking more of listeners on portable MP3 players or in their cars, which will probably have to be turned to 10 to gain any sort of decent listening experience from this album. Also, you risk a nasty shock when you move on to the next album on your music player…
All in all, this is a pretty good death metal album from the Mexicans, and would have gained a better reception from me if not for the low volume. If old Morbid Angel, Goatwhore, Angelcorpse and Belphegor are your thing, you lose nothing by checking out Hacavitz.