HardcoreMost of the time, I ignore hardcore. But when I heard about Xibalba, I vaguely remembered reading something about them on Erebuszine, so I gave it a shot. Looking back at that site, apparently he was talking about the Mexican black metal band, not the California hardcore band.
But I'll consider that mix-up a happy accident, because Hasta la Muerte is awesome. Though apparently not metal enough to be listed on Metal Archives, this band is not far from Crowbar on the sludge metal vs. hardcore spectrum. Just on the other side of the Mayan underworld, it would seem.
If I had just three words to describe it, I might have to use "heavy as fuck." The production puts many "true" sludge metal bands to shame in that all-important area. If you'll indulge me for a few more words, I'll tell you that the songs are composed of memorable sludge/hardcore riffs with an extremely meaty tone, backed by lively punk-style or tribal drums and shouted vocals. They range widely in tempo, take turns into breakdown territory in the best possible way, throw down a solo or two, and flirt with drone.
It does not start out the best, as the first few songs leave little impression on me. But it starts to pick up around track 4. The second half of the record, where they hid the great songwriting and variety, is fantastic. The title track is especially catchy, and its seamless transition into "Mala Mujer" (featuring female vocals) is perfect.
You should know I'm not well-versed in hardcore, so I don't have much to compare it to. For all I know, this could be a complete rip-off of some extremely well-known band. Not that I'd care, because it kills.
The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars
Buy Hasta la Muerte