Album: Tierra Y Libertad
Record Label: Southern Lord
Release Date: January 26th 2015
Spanish-inflected California Hardcore crew bring consistently thrilling and crushing weight to their Sludge/Crust hybrid
You know how every now and again you have one of those days where you just want to bulldoze your uptight arsehole of a boss' house down, or drive a steam-roller through your own garden fence just to prove you can DO something? Well it's quite probable that if you listen to Polmona, California mob Xibalba's latest full-length "Tierra Y Libertad" then this relatively short but wholesome LP will become the most satisfying soundtrack to those days.
Opener "Enemigo" is as good a precedent as any for the brutality that is to come. It flits between monstrously groovy, sludgy chugging and two speeds of furious Hardcore drum pummeling. It melds their proudly worn influences rather seamlessly, and proves that they take just as much from Pantera and Crowbar as they do from Dismember and Madball. Repeated grunts of "I have scars too deep to feel" confirms that Hatebreed's cheesy sense of over-sized optimism this ain't.
The anti-establishment savagery of "Guerilla" is almost a fists-in-the-air call to arms, whilst the magnificent "En Paz Descanse" starts as perhaps the album's most nail-bitingly harsh Death Metal-inflected turn before becoming a desperately slow battering of which Kirk Windstein would be proud.
Only twice do they deviate from their admittedly exhilarating down-tuned formula. "Pausa" is a slice of eerie, thick harmonized dueling that at 1.16 in length leaves you feeling like they could have made slightly more of it. The closer "El Vacio", however, is 12 and a half minutes of epic, melodic and suitably miserable sludge in it's heaviest, most atmospheric guise. Despite the potential of becoming one dimensional, "Tierra Y Libertad" never becomes tiresome, and its bone-shattering weight and swagger is so immovable that if you don't violently nod your head at least once then you've a heart of stone.
Key tracks: "En Paz Descanse", "El Vacio", "Enemigo"
For Fans of: Crowbar, Dismember