“Atl Tlachinolli”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Where would we not go to find death? For that desire, our heart bleeds.”—Mayan proverb

The ancient tribes of Meso America were death-obsessed in a way the Vikings could never match. For them, the difference between the living world and the world beyond was blurry in the extreme. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that Mayan and Incan mythology should find a place in black metal.

The oddly named Blue Hummingbird On the Left has been a part of the deep underground Meso American black metal scene for a long time, but “Atl Tlachinolli” is their first full length. It’s good they spent their time crafting it because this record may just cause a whole new type of black metal to explode. This is a ripping debut from start to finish, full of killer sounds and exotic atmosphere. BHL is just as much death metal as black metal, with a thick and meaty guitar sound. Songs like “Blood Flower” and “Hail Huitzilopochilli” roar and pulsate with brutal riffs that embed themselves in your brain. The songs here are focused and precise…there are occasional bursts of pure Mayan folk music done with traditional instruments, but they are brief and used to set up a metal onslaught.

The vocals are a super echoey growl that reverberates and folds back in on itself. Much different than typical black metal singing. It gives a pretty cool texture to the songs but the band really comes close to overdoing it with the echo effects. In the second part of the album, cuts like “Life Death Rebirth” and “Tenochitilan” begin to show a more traditional “cold” sounding dissonance, but Mayan flute and percussion give the tracks a warm and exotic feel. Really, the whole album is a gripping experience.

Tired of the same Viking themes and singing trolls? Let Blue Hummingbird on the Left transport you to a bloody jungle of tropical black metal…