Thou Art Lord, Our Lord the Flayed One!
„Miquian” didn’t surprise me. Again I had to confront death metal sounds attired with pre-Hispanic instruments. And again I had to listen to Nahuatl Alex screams. In two simple words: nothing new… But! For me this is just a great message. Good that production is far better than “In Moyocoyani” sounds with drums realization that left much to be desired, to be more precise. Now it is still clear but instruments all sounds simply great. What about the music itself? Ha, again nothing new from me, because “Miquian” provided me absolutely great music and vocal ravage once again. And there’s nothing to do but to praise the band and let them skin my senses. For sure all Miquian sounds are closer to the previous album than to “Eztlacuani”, however the newest piece seems to be faster offer, and the raging speed reigns here through the structures, yet some slow-downs are present as well (the opening part of “Xinechtemotlalli Campa Tletl” or oldschool-like excellent beginning of “Tlatomontecuhtli”). Generally slower moments are played to prepare the senses for the frontal attack, mainly there are filled with aforementioned pre-Hispanic instruments like different kinds of flutes, rattles, drums or huehuetl. Martin, the main and only composer, doesn’t treat it as a cool addition to the proper music, these indigenous instruments are integral part of the music. They aren’t any piece of gossip or exotic oddity, they are simply great unit of what I have been praising since the “Eztlacuani” times. What is more, Martin himself plays all the stuff and there are no fake sounds or samples from computer! The whole definitely has another better authentic dimension to get a proper insight into the bygone glorious and bloody past of the Mexicas. No matter if it comes from the proper songs or from the introductions…
As the rest of instrumentarium hit the stage, the guitar layers should be summoned immediately. But I won’t discover any new lands, any new territories. Namely, Martin’s guitar performance, since “Eztlacuani” to be more accurate, is just splendid. His phenomenal parts make the choice of the best track harder, if not impossible: Martin composed nine equal killers. Both riffs and leads turn the music into something devastating when it takes the form of unimaginable fury striking the mind, not only if the murderous tempo is concerned (take a listen to the opening of “In Yaotl Nohtic”…), but also while Xipe Totec shows a slower side in “Tliltic Tonaltzin” with… beautiful yet really surprising long guitar lead. For sure, the whole is based on extremely furious riffs and frenzied rhythm section, yet the first track has been decorated with blackish-like slow-down that reminds me a bit of Dissection. Some broken rhythms are present in “In Yaotl Nohtic” and „ Tlatomontecuhtli” as well. The right using of folk instruments are the next component I don’t even think about any boring moments.
Vocals of Alex are his best work so far. He didn’t provide any one-dimensional murmurs and feeble moans. No, his throat spits the venom all the time, mainly deep gutturals and insane growls. And what is more I cannot imagine this band without Alex. The band itself confirmed my opinion about that inviting Miguel Angel from Remains to do lead vocals on “Xinechtemotlalli Campa Tletl”. He has completely different kind of deathly voice, yet he sings in one way, a bit similar to the early F. Mullen. And as long as Angel perfectly fits to his killing band, here is simply weaker than Alex’s great power. I know, the musicians try to do some new tricks and the second guest person on the board is Manuel Ricardo Pilón, professor of ethnomusicology “Tlacamictiliztli Ohtlipa” which is in fact an introduction with pre-Hispanic stuff that perfectly fits to the Xipe Totec catalogue. To put it briefly, he created the most sensitive song in the Xipe Totec history, of course not counting intro and outro from the debut.
The separate thing striking from the last part of “Miquian” are three tracks that complete the whole. They’re not any throw-out from “Prehispanic Beg”, there are just songs recorded back then and now put on cd by Martin. And they’re brilliant! In the vein of Cannibal Corpse best effort “Tomb of the Mutilated” or “The Bleeding” albums and some first Suffocation classics with marked and precise touch of Xipe Totec ripping death metal might. Smashing and broken tempos, Mictlan-like gutturals, as sharp as a razor guitar tones and bone breaking bass… the same enthusiastic feelings as before with the first listens to the band. And if I mentioned US influences, the opening tunes of “Yaotl” are pure old school Sweden worship. Desultory, Gorement, yes, crews like that, believe me. With “Eztli” and “Tlacamacazqui”, it is a perfect supplement to the history of Xipe Totec, to the memorable times of the debut. And if in most of cases bonus tracks are rather a factor that lows the final mark, here, also comparing to the ending awful Sepultura cover from the predecessor, I can only listen to those crushers delightedly. Yes, I’m not wrong, I can feel the breath of mightful Huitzilopochtli who prepossessed Martin to raise these songs from the dead. There’s no other way!
Summing the things up, the Mexicans carried all before one. The music itself of this killing duo didn’t lose quality. And I’m just speechless while listening to this newest offer and admiring each piece of sound. But again, I am not surprised at all as “Miquian” didn’t change anything, however I cannot give the maximal rating this time (unlike “Eztlacuani” review) due to aforementioned “Xinechtemotlalli Campa Tletl” and its vocal lines. In addition I have to point out on track “Tlaxicoliztli” and its ending part that has been silenced during fine guitar lead unfortunately. And maybe I’m stickling now but I have to be sincere to the bone: Xipe Totec has been belonged to my beloved bands since the ages and I built an altar for them at my home many years ago, but it doesn’t mean I became a blind fanboy or what.
“Miquian” is a power from the heirs of Acamapichtli. “Miquian” is a power similar to dismembering of Coyolxauhqui at the Coatepec mountain.
Miquian, a moment of death…
(written in April, 2015)