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Q'uq'umatz - Tepeu CD (album) cover

TEPEU

Q'uq'umatz

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

5.00 | 1 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars Well into the 21st century it seems like the ability to create an original product in the context of the greater metal universe becomes ever more difficult as subgenres splinter out into every possible direction like newly formed branches on trees. While most bands seem to settle on a few influences and adhere to a set parameter that they won't expand beyond, some bands like the bizarre experimental act Q'UQ'UMATZ have no problem with scouring the entire musical universe in order to find inspiration. Founded in South Lake Tahoe, CA and named after the Mayan deity who was one of the gods who created the world in the Popol Vih which was the famous K'iche' creation epic. Like that god, this band has created some of the most distinct and experimental metal music of the modern era incorporating everything from atmospheric black metal, post-rock and progressive rock alongside with traditional Native American music, noise rock and neo-psychedelia.

This is one of those bands that prefers to remain mysterious and enigmatic not releasing their identities or even the instruments played on their albums. Everything is a freakish romp through the sonic parade of their own making. Having only debuted in the year 2016, the band set forth by releasing two albums in the single year of which this debut TEPEU (another K'iche' Mayan language term that means "sovereign," "one who conquers" or "one who is victorious") came first (followed by "I Know It's The Trees?.") Prepare yourself for an adventurous ride into the unknown with this one as there is nothing i've ever heard that can compare to it. Just like a trip from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala to the verdant jungles surrounding the mysterious ancient pyramids of Tikal, Q'UQ'UMATZ delivers a musical journey that flows much like a physical journey across the ever changing landscapes of our planet.

While beginning with indigenous flute music of the Central American region where the Mayan ruled for centuries and still exist in sizable numbers, Q'UQ'UMATZ are the masters of musical flow where they slowly morph into one style of music over the other creating a sort of baton passing effect with more than one style usually existing at any given moment. Whether they incorporate black metal riffs, post-rock atmospheric presence or extremely challenging progressive rock time signatures that run amok, they exhibit a tidal wave of moods and textures ranging from moog organ psychedelia to some of the most unexpected layers of styles that create wild and vivacious counterpoints in atonal yet satisfying rhythmic patterns. This is avant-garde to the max! Some tracks like "Ik Kil Cenote" are just frenetic and complex beyond belief and enough to make some music listener's heads explode as it delivers several polyrhythms imposed upon each other with each trying to be more jarring and freaky than the other. While the album is almost entirely instrumental, there finally emerge some black metal shrieks that appear after the eight minute mark of the final title track.

TEPEU is evenly split between three shorter tracks and three very long ones that all exceed the twelve minute mark with the title track nearing a whopping 25! This is simply music so bizarre and resistant to any points of reference that is the epitome of the avant-garde that defies every possible attempt at such silly notions of nomenclature. It seems like every single aspect of this music has been designed to be utterly alien to any comparisons. Despite being an utterly alien sounding and a soundtrack for the deranged on lysergic joyrides in the astral planes, there is a continuity in the rhythmic flow which saves this from collapsing into a free fall train wreck that sputters into the truest form of chaos however that doesn't mean that progressive time signature don't change at the drop of hat, it only means that somehow Q'UQ'UMATZ create a totally satisfying river of consciousness that allows the listener to float on their little inner tube with their head phones on allowing each segment of the music connect logically to the next despite every segment being completely off-kilter in its mondo bizarro reality. I love this! This is simultaneously sensual and aggressive as hell and creates a distinct soniscape that connects the dots but never tells you where those dots reside. This would CERTAINLY have been included on the Nurse With Wound List had it come about 40 years ago!

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |

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