Tlaltecuhtli, the Giver
Never trust first youtube impressions! Now, I do not remember which track tried to conquer my mind, yet I collected too many keyboards sounds only. However, for obvious reasons, I liked the stuff because of front-cover. Even if I’m pretty experienced listener and reviewer (?!), I’ve been forced to give it a chance. This is the first thing, the latter is the person of Martin Martinez which is responsible for many fascinating death metal deeds. So I patiently waited for physical cd version, as always, not being a down-loading vulture. Yes, Miquian is the band that doesn’t want the GREAT past of Mexico to be forgotten and mentioned picture done by vocalist César is the first gate to the indigenous cultures, mythologies and folks. It’s very brave and complex in this form, I must admit.
As the metal style is concerned, progressive power is the key, their site gives an adjective ‘epic’ as well. And if you think about such progressive bands like Symphony X, Elegy or Fates Warning, then you’re all wrong. If you think about for example Finnish offers which I really do not like (Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica), then it’s another missing bullet. Trying to give a proper description on how this band sounds, Eternity’s End comes to me. Not only because of Germany based crew and Mexicans are kind of musical project, but I can feel the same way to execute such power genre. Even César manner is similar to Ian Perry and with my vivid imagination, Ronnie Dio has a big impact on what is César doing here. Aside from clean parts, there are fragments when he uses more aggressive forms (“Mictecacihuatl”, “Xolotl”, the ending part of last “Nihueliti Nitepanahuia”). But these seven songs (fourth track “Ximoayan” is a short intro) aren’t a monolith unfortunately. It sounded pretty seriously, but be cool, only one of them seems to be a worse kind and cannot convince me. In “Tonatlapixcatzin”, except interesting guitar leads, there’s almost nothing worth the trouble, riffs and keyboards are served in predictable and definitely too standard way, bringing the spirit of Stratovarius or even awful power sighs known from Children of Bodom. Then, production should be more POWERful (to show the power of riffs, guys!). The keyboards have been recorded as a main instrument and they take a leading force in the storm of sounds. It means, the rest of crew (vocals and other instruments) should be louder in a final mix. Not a good start for this trio, luckily, the rest is just a really good stuff that makes I often listen to it.
Musicians don’t try to complicate the whole, don’t break the structures, sounds are with easy flow through all these forty minutes. The key is just to give me catchy and memorable song. And they did it, I confirm. In addition, each song contains of folk pre-hispanic instrumental parts (different types of rattles, reed flutes, huehuetl and drums) played by Martin. Well, I can say, nothing new for anybody who knows the creativity of this man. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, it sounds perfect, yet it is the same as compared to the Xipe Totec discography. I’m far saying Miquian is a lighter (read: heavy power metal) form of this band, although such description shouldn’t be surprising here and there. But, if Xipe Totec has been mentioned, just take a listen to the ending part of “Ahmo Xitlemati” with splendid death riffs and frantic blasts. What a killing moment! Such fast fragments can be easily heard in “Mictecacihuatl” or “Xolotl” as well. But the basis here is just well written guitars and keyboards that cooperate and complement each another, giving the proper musical ideas. Then add Nahuatl lyrics, folk instruments and the main dish is ready to be consumed. What is interesting, each track has something special on the end, even “Tonatlapixcatzin”, calling my attention all the time. ‘Special’ = unexpected tempo changes, surprising riffs, interesting keyboard lines.
Well, summing the thing up – I’m a bit disappointed. Reading words above, it’s clear Miquian’s debut isn’t weak album. But! Naming it with one of the most fascinating myth taken from Mexica mythology, they had to realize there’s no place for failures and average offer. It means, they couldn’t record just a grey album. And, believe me, they did not! Although I still have an impression they were afraid of what their hearts could tell them while facing such great heritage of their ancestors. So, how is the future of this band? I do hope the last song “Nihueliti Nitepanahuia”, different a bit due to more complex instrumental touch and more progressive, is a kind of guide-point for musicians. Believing there’s something dormant in their minds, I await the second strike. I await not only because they’re sensation on power metal scene for the reasons I clearly pointed out, but I want to see another exploratory vision: with more creative courage, with more metal and Mexican madness. Such a genre gives them everything: just free your minds!
(written in October, 2016)