For the promo video of the track “Cold”, Xibalba got together with a bunch of friends, had a bbq and generally smoked and drank their way through the afternoon. It’s a video shoot not uncommon amongst hardcore bands, and designed to show how much people love to floorpunch at some of their gigs. The Southern California five-piece are a mix of lifestyle choices and influences that broaden the local hardcore scene, and a couple of band members even make sure the current crop of bands are booked in their area.
However, it is this broad aspect of the band that has an adverse effect. The mix of influences leaves no real defining sound that makes them instantly recognisable. Even when the band have a certain viewpoint, it isn’t something that they want to convince the listener about; “some bands have certain agendas and messages which is cool and the reason I got into hardcore, to be able to speak my mind but no need to force it down someone’s throat.” It’s not as is the lyrics aren’t forceful enough, either. For instance:
“Fuck the world it’s just me now, and I’m after you. Nothing will save you, eye for an eye / Finger on the trigger, barrel to your head / it would be better if you were dead.”
Xibalba fuse together an older death metal sound and texture with 90s hardcore beatdown bands (some say Sepultura and Disembodied, but I still haven’t made my mind up). But a generous portion of the album is stuck in caustic sludge, strangled by the depths of monotonous riffs and dampening much of the tempo and energy. It isn’t until just after mid-way through the release that tracks get interesting again with tracks such as “Red” and “Obituary”, “Cold” and “Spanish Harlem”. This is where their strengths lie, and it’s a shame that they are to be found at the end of the release.