Tierra Y Libertad, the 3rd LP from Pomona, California's Xibalba displays the band maturing and coming more into the forefront of the metal scene. For those expecting a continuation of the sound on Hasta La Muerte, the more hardcore/ beatdown sound has been for the most part pushed into the background as they have come to embrace a more death metal approach. I'm not saying the songs don't sound as hard hitting as they were on Hasta La Muerte, just each song is more structured and has a flow to it that makes it more compelling. The band has also gone through some member changes since their 2012 and it can be heard as the new songs demonstrate more technicality in the playing and in the newer elements in the songs as vocalist Nathan Rebolledo opens some songs like "Guerrilla" in a militant speech like delivery, which also follows through in parts of the title track. For an album that translates to "Land and Liberty" this album's sound and concept are well executed and while it doesn't have the feel of the "Aztec" vibe that was on Hasta La Muerte, this album is a monster of all it's own. The last two tracks the insanely heavy and slam ridden Si Dios Quiere and the somber closer El Vacio show the versatility that Xibalba now possess, moving away from songs that are strictly breakdown ridden and showing a new formula for their songwriting.
Bottom Line: Xibalba have evolved into a new beast, and while the breakdowns may not be as prominent in the songs, their placement makes them almost harder and some of their best. I will also say that many listeners will be surprised by how somber El Vacio is, as it might be one of the softest songs that Xibalba have written in their career but it still ties in nicely to the concept of the album.
Tierra Y Libertad is expected out on 1/27/15 via Southern Lord Records
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Review by: Brett H.