rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Muerte Primera
02. Hiaretikos Nicte
03. Moonstench
04. Voivodvz
05. Tsontekotl Ika Tletl
06. Conticinium

HACAVITZ has come a long way since its rabid early days when they sounded like a bridge between unholy blasters MORBID ANGEL, KRISIUN and ANGELCORPSE. A clear evolution toward dank black metal has taken place over the last 20 years. Even when they began as a derivative reflection of their influences, the Mexican maniacs have always walked their own path, and, aside from 2015's sterile "Darkness Beyond", they've proven themselves to be exceptional ever since. Now, with their first full-length since 2017's "Nex Nihil", HACAVITZ returns with the absolutely hellish "Muerte".

The new release is a behemoth from start to finish, but not belligerently. "Muerte" doesn't beat you over the head the way that CANNIBAL CORPSE does, it violates with a menacing and measured approach that's not necessarily immediate. An orchestral opening introduces the initial song, "Muerte Primera", which slowly and hauntingly moves forth, peppered with moments of blast beat-driven abrasion.

Aside from the nearly four-minute-long, unnerving, score-like instrumental, "Tsontekotl Ika Tletl", an interlude defined by a ghostly wash of creaking stringed sounds and cymbal splashes, the other five tracks range from five to almost 11 minutes in length. "Moonstench" is the hardest hitting song, flipping between an up-tempo CELTIC FROST groove and even faster blackened death mayhem. Elsewhere, ominous choral chanting opens up "Voivodvz" which nods and winks toward (*ahem*) a certain forward-thinking Canadian band, though it primarily sounds like an eviller version of BLUT AUS NORD. The slower portions drag too long, however, in a song that's otherwise cerebrally gripping.

HACAVITZ represents what blackened death metal should be. "Muerte" sounds like the soundtrack to a vile ritual. It's a perfect meeting point between evil death and black metal. This deep into their career, it isn't realistic to expect that HACAVITZ's profile will significantly rise. It should, but their ongoing, relative obscurity is a testament to the fact that they're doing it for the right reasons.

Author: Jay H. Gorania
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