This is a raw, ritualistic, shamanic brick to the earholes. These Chileans don’t mess around. The production is interesting to me, they found a way to balance the aggressive rawness their ritual requires also putting forth a musical clarity in which the listener is able to discern all instruments and layers. This may be due to the experience Alvaro Lillo brings to the table as Watain’s live bassist.
This EP is fairly short; however, we are given a worthy endeavor, that is if raw Black Metal isn’t a genre you scoff towards. I promise you I’m not trying to be/sound elitist, this shit just isn’t for everyone. The casual metal fan may think this is random garbage, but to the open minded there are many tasty morsels to enjoy. The dual vocal attack expands the depth of the ritual, the deep gutturals create a warm discomforting familiarity, and the harsh screams pull the listener deeper into the chasm. The clear enunciation with the harsh screams is another focused touch in attempting to bring the listener further into the raw fuckery of their sound. The vocals are higher in the mix and the lead guitar lines are dermis just under the dense epidermis layers of the trem riffs. The rhythm section is nice and clear, with Alvaro’s bass taking center stage here and there throughout the EP.
Overall the sound is raw and relentless, until it isn’t, and the listener is given a few moments of disconcerting atmosphere to catch their breath. To me, this has that first wave punk energy and attitude coupled with that 2nd wave compositional approach – think simple linear melodies, with a focus on added layers of tremolo riffing. There are a few quieter moments in the EP. The title track is an intense chant number and the last song a piano outro. My main complaint with what Xalpen offered here is the order of the songs. Personally I would have moved the title track ahead of the 3rd song “Ten Hashpen”, and “Seyta ( the Barn Owl)” ahead of “K’terrnenqar Shwaken”, the 4th song.
This EP was released in 2018, and they have a new EP released earlier in 2019 as well. Check them both out, there are definitely many interesting moments to explore and experience with Xalpen. (International Acrobat)