Dentro Del Manto Gris De Chaac
posted on 9/2010 By:
Those who are much more elite than myself are sure to disagree, but I appreciate the ethnic turns black metal has taken since its inception. It’s come a long way since Norway exploded, and I’m very pleased with the way this often-misunderstood sub-genre has morphed from something centered on hatred and clown makeup to one of the most purely emotional and personal styles of music in existence. Black metal has transcended nationality and language barriers, becoming a voice for individuality across the globe as Yaotl Mictlan so expertly displays on the absolutely ripping Dentro Del Manto Gris De Chaac, an album that shows a notable amount of focused growth and maturity compared to their rather overwrought debut, Guerreros La Tierra De Los Muertos.
Corresponding with Chaac being a Maya rain deity, Yaotl Mictlan thunders their way through these eight tracks with savage purpose, carried by Tlatectal’s scorching vocal assault and a seemingly endless stockpiling of sharp, compelling riffs. Forgoing a one-speed wall of pointless sound, each of these songs tempers and unleashes rage in carefully plotted structure, placing cleaner vocals and more gentle tones among their rather sophisticated method of annihilation, throwing in strong power chords and hefty amounts of unfriendly melody within each passage. This is a band with an obvious passion for metal, and has studied their art vigorously, because each and every tune resonates with faithful pride in knowing when enough is enough, but never hesitating to simply rip your throat out like on the calamitous “Hun Hunapu” and its violently off-the-rails tempo bursts and schizophrenic riffing. Yet even when things are at their most intense, everything is somehow kept in complete control. There’s never a point where anything sounds sloppy or patchworked despite bold excursions into lighter sounds.
About halfway through, I was struck by how much these guys sound like Belphegor with the reins dropped, pretty much owning Helmuth at his own game by expanding upon odd tempos and more complex riffs. From a production standpoint, the drums and vocals are the dominating entities, although the bass makes rare movements toward the forefront during the less rampaging sections, and the guitars have a great tone to them even though I would have liked them to be more up front in the overall mix, especially during the excellent lead-off title track, and the positively stunning “Noche Triunfadora.”
Mexican black metal by way of Utah; that’s a new one on me. There’s an absence of misdirected anger that I find rather refreshing on Dentro…, and by keeping their culture and history as a focal point, Yaotl Mictlan has put a vibrant spin onto their art while staunchly maintaining all the ferocious trademarks the genre is known for. The innovation is kept to a modest minimum without muting the ethnic flair that sets them apart from other American black metal bands, and even though perfection is still out of reach, these guys have crafted an exciting and lively disc that may very well make its way to my year-end list due to the greatness of “Heulitiyotl Mexica” and closer “Nada Verde Creece Aqui” alone. This is a great album; I feel fortunate to have spent so much time with it, and I hope you do, too.
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