Beating the Drums of Ancestral Force

I originally started this off with a silly intro, but it’s not fitting. This is serious, bone-shaking death metal, and everyone should pay attention. Not that Tzompantli needed to improve, but they sure as shit did.

On their second album, Beating the Drums of Ancestral Force, these gentlemen have knocked it out of the park with one of the most important, and thoroughly enjoyable death metal albums of the year. It’s so damned heavy. Anyone reading should like that.

Take for example the second track, “Tlayohuali.” At this point, as the song title seems to implore, the album is branded as Indigenous Death Metal. You’ll understand why later, but god damn if this song isn’t a cavernous monster. It traverses a similar path to 200 Stab Wounds, Sanguisugabogg and of course, Xibalba (Tzompantli was founded by Xibalba’s Brian Ortiz). The difference is that these tracks could be seen as more introspective. Around halfway, the melodies go into death-doom territory, briefly reminding me of Paradise Lost, but that doesn’t last long before more pummeling. At the end, though, they bring in the impending doom, and mourning feel of The Peaceville Three again.

One could mistake the next track, “Tlaloc Icuic” as an interlude. That’s mostly because it is. This is where many of the Indigenous elements come out. There’s chanting and drumming, which really build atmosphere. It’s as heavy as can be imagined for an interlude. However, it’s 4 minutes, so let’s just call it an instrumental track.

I’m going to mention the two longest cuts near the end. The first one being “Tetzaviztli.” Help a brother out on the spellings. Anyway, at over 8 minutes, almost the entire first minute has ominous drumming, which does sound Indigenous in nature. That’s before the guitars breakthrough. Pit-scraping, and cavernous vocals are the dominant style, which is true throughout the album. Excellent flute bursts are by no means dominant, but you’ll be able to easily identify them.

The last track, at over 9 minutes, “Icnocuicatl,” is basically funeral doom. I don’t listen to much of that sub-genre but enjoy the elements that Worm frequently uses. The relatively slow-paced drums and ringing notes give me Foreverglade vibes. It thrills me and hopefully by extension, you as well dearest reader.

I’ve been going through some shit lately, which is why this review is late. I deeply apologize to the band and label if they read this, but I just had to cover it. This kind of death metal, especially with the unique instrumentation, is right up my alley. I haven’t heard a lot of death metal with Indigenous influences and if it’s this excellent, I would welcome more. This album has been an integral part of some of my long, lonely drives to take care of family business, but well beyond that, I listen to it in the gym, at work, wherever. I will be glad when this is published, and I hope everyone gets the joy out of it I have.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
June 21st, 2024


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