Cemican - In Ohtli Teoyohtica in Miquiztli

Cemican In Ohtli Teoyohtica in Miquiztli
In Ohtli Teoyohtica in Miquiztli
M-Theory Audio
Metal has become not only fragmented, which might have helped it survive, but has also relegated it to relatively low overall chart places and such, but has in a way become a little unimaginative. Every now and again a really interesting band will come out and refresh the scene and shortly thereafter an army of clones, with sometimes not only the same MO, but in some extreme cases even font will come out to challenge the primacy of theirs. A story as old as time itself.
But there’s a bit but(t). Cemican are nothing like I’ve ever heard before, well almost and that in itself is refreshing. Their style is a bizarre extreme folk mix with impassioned vocals and even wind instruments?! Imagine playing a Sepultura and one of those aztec pipe music CDs at the same time and it somehow works. Weird but wonderful. They obviously come warpainted and with masks, so M-Theory take notice and sign them up before anyone else gets their dirty mittens on them.
“In Ohtli Teoyohtica In Miquiztli” is their third full length, which arrives after a short while in relative inactivity at least studio wise. Mictlan is the Aztec “underworld” so this entire album concerns itself with the passage of people into the nether realm.
Opener “Guerreros de Cemican” feel like a ritualistic call to arms, pretty thrashy... until you get the wind instruments/whistles etc. and you go WTF for a bit, but then just learn to accept and even expect them. The chorus of the track is particularly interesting and inspired.
“La Que Baja de las Estrellas” begins unassumingly before a pretty blackened heavy metal riff and some cool guitars to then turn into a hard hitting metallic mealstrom.
“Itlach In Mictlantecuhtli” is a cool ass song, with a riff that sounds almost Slayer-like one guitar though and those whistles, working their magic again. The chorus is pretty epic too.
“Cuando los Muertos Suspiran (Mihcailhuitl)” is far more melodic, with tirbal drums leading it and the folk factor turned to eleven. There’s still some extremity, but it’s not overbearing.
Up to its break for an interesting solo, “Ritual” is pretty much dwelling in death metal territory, which makes it contrast nicely with the rest of the material. Obviously you can’t escape the whistles, there are some at every other turn, but by this point, you’re either perfectly happy with them playing around the riffs and complimenting them, or you might have stopped listening.
“Luna Desmembrada” has an ominous title and female vocals at first at least, which are soothing, at least before Tecuhtli, the band’s vocalist, starts shouting along. The nice lead, which is doubled by whistles, the second time around, reinforces the track as a firm favorite.
“Atemaxaque” is five minutes of jungle ambiance with a nice whistled melody, which however doesn’t sound completely original. A nice breather though.
“El Respiro de la Tierra (Tlatecuhtli)” sounds like if someone put a fist and a whistle (obviously) up one of those Finnish folk pretender bands’ arse and made em sing in Spanish. Interesting, with nice guitars and quite a punch.
“Diosa de Todos los Dioses” is a ponderous soft track with even entirely clean and melodic singing – not exactly a ballad, but the closest thing to it, in a record as odd as this one. No whistles too, which is quite a blasphemy, but you will have to grin and bear it.
“Tzitzimime (Danza de los huesos)” sounds like Seps around “Roots”, but a lot more serious and thought out, not just crazy thrashing about, even if the ferocity is pretty much on the same level… and them whistles make a welcome return. Get Ian Anderson and a room, already you guys (to record in, obviously)…
“Azteca Soy” is choke full of brutality and inspired guitar parts, a clearly heavier and more extreme track, with whistles just barely audible in the background.
Last but not least, “Donde Nace el Viento (Ehecatl)” manages to get all the elements mixed in equal doses, epic, folk-y, metal, interesting all the way.
Ooh and the entire album’s supposed to be sung in Náhuatl – a local Mexican language that enjoyed some popularity and even survives today, in ruralities, however becoming more and more extinct with each passing generation. Highly original, exciting, with good ideas and even a fairly good production Cemican are interesting… and their existence alone is refreshing.