Release DetailsLABEL Metalism Records
RELEASED ON 4/27/2006
posted on 1/2007 By:
Sometimes brilliance can come at you from the oddest place. In this case, an obscure Russian band playing an Aztec/Inca/Mayan inspired form of doom/death metal.
I should preface this review by saying this isn’t truly as stand alone review of Tenochtitlan’ s Chac Och-Ut, hence the no scores, but also a review of the preceding but then re-issued after Chac Och-Ut album, Epoch of the Fifth Sun. Metalism sent us both albums and both were technically released in 2005, and frankly reviewing 2 similarly amazing but lengthy and older albums seemed a waste of time.
Named after the Aztec capital built in the middle of an enormous lake, Russia’s Tenochtitlan will realistically appeal to fans of challenging, highly specialized, ethnic music similar to say Orphaned Land or even Karl Sanders' (Nile) solo work . Lots and lots of Mexican styled instrumentation (delivered by a vast array of woodwinds and synths) and interludes litter both albums' epic and melancholy form of doom metal similar to the podding stylings of early Paradise Lost or Anathema, making a pretty inaccessible album for the casual metal fan, but within the Mesoamerican scope, there is some brilliantly delivered doom metal here. Tracks like “Can Quitlaz in Huelic Xachimeh”, “A Place Where Gods Are Born” “A Toltek Artist” (from Chac Och-Ut) and “Sun Winds”, “Secrets of Pacal and Virakochi”, “Teotihuacan” and the amazing “The Hymn Of Huitzilopochtli” (From Epoch of the Fifth Sun) deliver truly breathtaking moments of epically doomy and atmospheric, unique material. The music is admittedly a bit rough around the edges production wise, with some programmed drums ruining the natural vibe for a track like “Tsompantly” (and possibly due to all the band members living in different parts of the country), and vocally it's all over the place from deep growls, hoarse shouts, chants, clean crooning and such, but it all comes together to create, in truth, some of the most unique music I’ve ever heard.
Epoch of the Fifth Sun is arguably the more focused, better sounding release both musically and aesthetically, but Chac Och-Ut has an almost primal ethnicity to it. But for both, the atmosphere is so deep seeded and ingrained in the music, rather than simply tacked on, you can feel the warm South American sun on your face and the dry dust in the air as you are lead up the steps of the sacrificial pyramid. This would have been a fitting soundtrack to Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto.
That being said, both albums suffer from slightly overdrawn, droning songs, and of course a language barrier, making for a patience testing listening experience, but’s that simply an element of doom that you have to deal with, and when flocked with some truly mesmerizing, magical moments, it's worth the effort if you can seek these albums out.
Scores for each album:
Epoch of the Fifth Sun:
Register to post comments.