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Fusion of space-out psych and black / death metal - 85%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, May 4th, 2013

When I did the review of "Kinich Ahau" some weeks ago, I hadn't realised that Kuxan Suum had another release with that track plus a second song. But seeing as no-one else has so far taken up Kuxan Suum's cause of spaced-out psychedelic / black metal, I'm back with a massive missive on the band's self-titled first album. At least it's an excuse to listen to the song "Kinich Ahau" again: this track is a great black metal / psychedelic piece and I can see in years to come this will be considered a major cult work. Strong words indeed.

The title track begins with a beautiful trilling guitar melody that becomes bleached in its tone and the echoes that build up and reverberate through your skull. The shrill guitar feedback screams and echoing space effects circle around in your mind forever and shades of bright colours dance before your eyes. Then the song proper begins and takes you on a delirious journey through hell, accompanied by the screams of the damned, to an ultimate date with destiny.

The second track "Principle of Harmonic Resonance" is a deeper, meatier piece, more death metal in its orientation, and with clearer and more definite vocals that are fairly up-front in the music. The guitars have sparkling jewel-like tones that enrich the song together with the faint airy-sounding background synthesiser. Although the song doesn't soar as screechingly high as "Kinich Ahau" and is a darker piece, it has its own far-reaching charm especially just after the halfway mark when, for a couple of minutes, it threatens to take your brain apart cell by cell by its mesmeric tones. Changes of key take the track into some dangerously interesting and interestingly dangerous by-ways that seriously mess with the brain. This is a place where you might want to stay forever: lead guitar is bewitching in its melodies, the rhythms are crisp and no-nonsense chunky, the synthesiser is keening away in sympathy with the vocalist whose raspy voice swings from pity and sorrow to derangement and despair at the madness creeping over him. This second track may just be the better of the two in its sonic and vocal range.

Both songs deserve a wider audience for their fusion of spaced-out ambient psychedelia and black / death metal taken to the genres' extremes. There is a suggestion of listeners being taken, willingly or unwillingly, on a major voyage through multiple levels of existence to an absolute revelation, beyond which there may only be annihilation. There may be a link with Aztec or Mayan mythology here; the cover art suggests such a link exists and perhaps the songs take as their inspiration the journey that souls must make after death through several layers of hell to reach Mictlan, the Land of the Dead where they dwell in nothingness forever.