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Tenochtitlan - Tezcatl CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.91 | 3 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars While Senmuth is his solo works is mainly concentrated on Egypt and middle-east, with Tenochtitlan as the band's name says he and his bandmates explore the aztec culture. This album features, other than Senmuth, the growler and guitarist "Lefthander" that we sometimes find as guest on Senmuth's albums, Eresh that's another usual guest, the guitarist "Brutal Harry" and the singer Johny Ratsen from St.Petersburg whose band ZOLOTO has recently released the debut album.

What we have here is mainly industrial metal. The ethnic elements, when present, are in the background and are mainly provided by the wind instruments played by Eresh. Respect to the usual Senmuth there's in general more guitar.

Tetzcatlipoca is the Aztec God of Death and this is reflected by the darkness of this album.

It's opened by "Nemlitzi-Tetzcatl" which gives immediately an idea of what it's about. Flutes, electronic percussions and keyboards, then choirs. It's quite symphonic.

"Teokali" is a great track which condensates in five minutes all the elemens I've spoken about before. It has clean and growl singing, distorted guitars, but also winds and percussion. The good of Tenochtitlan is that the other elements are complementary in some way to Senmuth so the result is more consistent than it is on most of the Senmuth's solos.

"ixChel" is just an instrumental transition. As in many Senmuth's albums all the tracks are connected and continuous.

"Pechal' Tonatiu" is the longest track and one of the best in terms of songwriting. Eresh sings in Russian, but until Lefthander starts growling this song could be compared to the lighter progressive metal of Ayreon. Even with the growl the song is melodic and the rhythm is slow. There's a good piano interlude in the middle which introduces a guitar solo in an Opeth style. The second guitar solo is typically Senmuth stuff then the last two minutes are a reprise of the stanza with Eresh singing again. A very good song closed by piano and winds.

"Fatal Xihupohualli" brings us musically in the usual Senmuth's realm but the vocals are in "Americam Indians" style. It gives me the imagine of a nightly ritual with fire and peyote in a desert.

"Lament Ol'antay" with its chill-out winds and bells is like after the Peyote has been used. I'm not joking, this is the idea that the music inspires to my mind. The second part of the ritual. The last 30 seconds are filled by the return of a fading-in distorted guitar. Awakening.

"Kal'Yal'Yapi" is a screamed, more than growled, song. I think it's Senmuth singing the first stanza just to be replaced on the second by Lefthander. This is an interesting track, surely not a masterpiece but well placed at this point.

"Inti Raymi" is slow and powerful at the same time, similar to Pechal' Tonatiu with a very good initial guitar riff. Quite similar to what Senmuth does with his other side-project NeNasty. Eresh Russian lyrics seem a bit out of metric and with almost no rhymes, but it drastically change to growl and industrial metal in the last third of the song.

"Haa-Ma Chah'-Been-Tzil" Is opened by its title cried like a mantra or a ritual song. Keyboards and winds make it hypnotic and close to chill-out and newage, but it's suddenly changed by Senmuth's vocals and his vocal distortion.

"Povelitel' Mayapana" starts with "Hey-ho Quetzal" (The principal Aztec divinity). The base is quite melodic, but the strong electronic percussions and some growl move it to metal and back. The song is very dark but when the keyboards are in foreground and the percussions don't give a rhythm it's a very intriguing track. Pain of Salvation and Riverside are the names that it recalls to my mind.

"Xayacatl" is just a minute of ethno-ambient. A bridge to the next track.

"Ayhara killa" (aka Goddess Moon) could be defined as a "crossover track". Senmuth sings with Lefthander. there are American Indian percussions, the usual wind instruments, parts of distorted guitar, parts of pure metal...but incredibly it doesn't sound too disconnected. However I have no doubts that it's Senmuth's stuff.

The track title could have made intend that "Quetzali Dance" was a track of the ethnic kind. It's very unusual at this point, instead, and it's also the first track on which Johny Ratsen sings lead vocals that are a good reason to check out her ZOLOTO. A very amazing song with different influences like the previous one.

"Mihtohtli Citlalin" is a typical Senmuth's song of the industrial metal kind. When it slows down the flute contributes in giving it a South American (or Central American) mood.

It leads almost naturally to "Padenie Ahau Yaguara". Eresh sings on a chords progression that's surely composed by Senmuth. Not a bad song but it's one of the weakest in this good album.

"Chanin Tiqsimuyu" is very interesting, instead. It's started by typical American indian percussions followed by guitar. Johny sings on a Senmuth's progression of chords. Her voice is overdubbed and the effect is amazing. She has an incredible vocal extension so she can sing very bass and very high notes. Later Senmuth sings, too. This is for me the best album's track.

"Tutamantan" is a good track but compared to the previous it's weaker. Johny sings also here. Her vocalisms remind me to Lucia Hwong and her Tibet suite, but this one os shorter and darker.

Another little dose of industrial metal with "Icxiohtli". Little because the metal is alternated with ethnic parts.

A short ethnic filler like "Aymarkayi" and we are ready for the conclusion.

The urban legend says that "2012" should be a conclusion in all the senses. Knowing Senmuth and his idea of cycles and metempsychosis I don't think Tenochtitlan are thinking to the end of the world. The song is opened by bass keyboards and a very slow and dark melody, then drums and a bass pitched guitar take the stage. They alternate with somebody's lead guitar.

So why four stars for this album? It's one of the best things that I've ever heard from Senmuth, but it's not an absolute masterpiece. Excellent addition? Sure if you like the genre. If not just check it out. It's never too late to appreciate new music.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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