By Andy Osborn.
It’s been seven months since I, along with my girlfriend, moved to Mexico City from the Pacific Northwest. The move has been an adventure for sure; filled with tacos, tequila and pretending to understand Spanish despite not speaking a word of the language before arriving. But it’s also been great getting used to the quirky Mexico City metal scene which is at times both incredible and confusing.
Despite being one of the world’s largest cities filled with rabid metalheads and a hotspot for big tours, Mexico City (or the country as a whole) has never produced bands that captured too much attention. Anything more extreme than thrash didn’t arrive until almost the mid 90s, and even then the death-dealers found little success outside of the city. The few that were lucky enough to gain some attention (Cenotaph, The Chasm, Xibalba) were still hardly a blip on the radar. And though last year’s great Fearless by Acrania - which fuses Latin jazz with death metal - made its rounds in the metal blogosphere, it still wasn’t enough to even begin to turn a spotlight on the megacity’s metal scene.
In this series I’m hoping to expose what I come across through various local shows in addition to the never-ending cache of wonder provided by of Metal Archives’ advanced search and Bandcamp’s tag pages. It won’t be an easy task, though, as Bandcamp is only very slowly starting to gain traction here, as the focus is decidedly old-school with emphasis on live performances over recording. Let’s kick things off with the lesser-knowns; some up-and-comers playing world-class extreme metal more than worthy of attention.
|Cover artwork by Yellow Mushi|
I’m always on the lookout for that sweet spot of old-school-but-not-really death metal. When it’s done right it has that tantalizing combination of headbanging riffs, to-the-point songwriting, and beautiful ferocity (and let’s not forget the HM-2) all of which perfectly captures the pure essence of what the classic genre should be about. Grotesque Deity’s Bloodream sounds like a long lost Swedish experiment, similar to the first Bloodbath EP, and proves there’s more to the young band than killer artwork and hero worship. The vocals, deeper than the caverns of hell, lead the charge while the never-ending catchy riffs are as 1993 as they are timeless. Melodic guitar solos and dueling leads serve up a fantastic dive into a taste of something both familiar and exciting.
Newly formed, Omianthropy dropped this lovely little debut EP a few months back. Atmospheric black metal with gothic and doom overtones, they use a perfect contrasting balance to bring out the beauty of extreme metal. Mixing black metal riffs with melancholy keyboards and rasps with clean, mournful crooning, Wood Within is something you would expect from the frozen tundras of the north rather than a tropical metropolis. It’s a small, interesting initial release to declare their intentions while the band continues to solidify their lineup and looks for what’s next.
|Artwork by Alí Ripper|
This type of murky black/death is usually the last thing I keep my ears open for, but In Obscurity Revealed do something different by letting the listening actually hear what’s going on. Too often, these war metal bands choke the listener oppressive production that drips with reverb and too much bass in an attempt to shroud the music in mystery and filth - usually because the musicians themselves are a bit too far removed from talent. This 11-minute demo is refreshingly clear and mid-range heavy which makes the astonishingly good riffs and tremolos stand out while still having that grimy feeling that this type of demo should have. It helps that they don’t drag anything out as the sub-3 minute tracks spew forth their blasphemies with deadly efficiency. The band has a killer live show to boot, and they’re gaining exposure as they regularly open for high profile international acts. It’s only a matter of time before they get signed and put out a bone-crushing full-length.