Mexican death cult Hacavitz turn toward raw black metal on violent ‘Darkness Beyond’

HacavitzIt’s not uncommon for a band that lasts many years together to eventually pull back their sound and have their intensity even out as they grow older. Or maybe that fire that once burned intensely in their creative souls is satisfied now, and their musical output is not as urgent as it once was.

Luckily, Mexican heathens Hacavitz know nothing about those things. Here they are, 12 years into their run together, and their music gets getting more savage and violent. Nowhere is that more apparent than on their new record “Darkness Beyond,” their first release in five years and the nastiest thing they’ve done to date. It’s not like this band took it easy on their other three full-length albums. Quite the opposite. But on this seven-track, 56-minute monster, Hacavitz renew their artistic desire and hammer out a piece that’s full-blown black metal in scope. They’re going for blood here and proving their crushing nature isn’t anywhere near slowing down, and that will be apparent to any listener who tries on this album for the first time. You’re going to get flattened.

Hacavitz coverThe band—vocalist/guitarist Antimo Bounanno (also of Blood Reaping and Castleumbra), guitarist Ivan Ochoa, bassist Ulises Sanchez (Beyond Stench, Evil Entourage), drummer Cesar “Led” Sanchez (Drowned in Blood, Profanator)—dropped their first EP in 2004, a year after forming, and delivered their debut full-length “Vengaza” a year later on Moribund Records. “Katun” followed in 2007, and in 2010 they went to Embrace My Funeral Records to release their third opus “Metztli Obscura.” Their sound was centered more on blackened death metal in years past, but now they seem to have only ill intent and a thirst for blood in mind as they sharpen their sound and make music as destructive as ever before.

“Terra Nihil” begins the assault, as a dizzying, humid open spills into a trucking tempo and vocals that sound vicious and charnel. The drums are utterly destroyed at times, with the pace continuing to pick up steam, some melody blending in for good measure, and savage howling taking you to an abrupt end. “Deadream” is the first of a trio of epics, running 9:04 and going into the path of swirling guitars, gruff growls, and a sweltering fury. The song eventually pulls back just a bit, letting eerie, chilling sentiments to enter the room, and that leads back into crazed shrieks and an atmosphere that bubbles with heat. The song erupts volcanically, with tortured screams peeling your eyelids open permanently, and charging guitars rolling into the devastating conclusion. “Livskit” starts with rain falling and a solitary guitar piercing the air. There’s a sense of frightening isolation, as the waves of noise pour on, and this churning instrumental leads into the title cut. That beast starts with doom-infested waters lapping the shore, gut-wrenching riffs swelling to the surface, and the journey pushing forward. A wild cackle spills from Bounanno’s throat, the music cascades down, and pained vocals provide the dark last moments.

“Herejia” is another behemoth, lasting 9:13 and tearing right open with a fit of rage and raw, vicious pummeling. The vocals sound terrifying and a little deranged at times, with guitars dripping like they’re sprinkling blood and a pocket of channeled soloing a little afterward. The song then re-ignites, with blazes glowing brightly, Bounanno wailing for “darkness absolute,” and the final moments packing on a few extra helpings of torment. “De Humo Negro y Ceniza” (translates to black smoke and ash) does feel like it’s hoping for conflagration, with guitars shimmering and the vocals coming on like a poisonous fog. The tempo chugs hard, delivering wave upon wave of brutality, and even when the volatility seems to calm, it always goes back to thunder and damage. Until is just dissolves all of a sudden. Closer “Time Is Now” is a 12:11 crusher, settling into a doomy tone and a slower delivery, leaving you disoriented and hanging by a thread. Then the speed hits, as the music gets even heavier, with Bounanno vowing, “There’s no future, there’s no return!” amid suffocating smoke. The melodies are purely black and sinister, with noise practically strangling every living thing in front of it, crazed howls tearing into the night, and the guitars smothering and blistering until they finally, mercifully fade.

Hacavitz always were a force of complete obliteration, but they’ve upped the ante heavily on “Darkness Beyond.” The songs are meatier, the atmosphere is way more volatile, and these blistering tracks leave plenty of open wounds that are bound to sustain infection. This band keeps getting more and more severe, which makes you wonder if they can come up with something this devastating a decade into their run, how fiery might their future be?

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