I remember mentioning Camaxtli Yoxippa when I was mocking Karl Spracklen's study where he claimed that folk metal was racist and sexist. Since they released a new EP just a few months ago, I think now might be a good time to give their music a deeper analysis.
Given the unpronounceable nature of their name, it is clear that these guys pay homage to their Aztec ancestors. In other words, they take death metal and combine it with Aztec folk music. The folk music takes the form of flutes, drums, and maracas. The drums and maracas are good, but they're mainly there to provide a musical foundation and enhance the atmosphere. The most prominent element here is the flute. It's mostly whimsical, but there are times when it can speed up and get quite frantic, and there are also moments where it's slow and calming. There are also moments where the band plays classical Spanish guitars that further add to the beauty of the music.
Now let's talk about the metal. The death metal these guys play is more on the groove side of things, but it's still good. The drums play a lot of pounding mid-paced rhythms full of crashing cymbals, but I wish the snare had more of an impact. Sometimes they play elaborate tribal patterns, and there are also moments when they pick up the pace and play some d-beats, and they even play some great blast beats on occasion. I like it when metal bands give more attention to the bass, and these guys definitely do that. On this album, the bass can be heard really well, and there are moments when it plays some really groovy riffs, such as on the last two songs.
When it comes to the vocals, they're okay. They're not terrible, but they don't really stand out. These guys perform more of a gruff shout. I wish they performed deep growls. At least the guitars make up for it. They start off the album with some mid-paced groove riffs. They're okay, but things get even better when they pick up the pace and start playing more thrashing riffs. They're quite melodic and sound similar to what a few Swedish melodic death metal bands would play, the difference here being that Camaxtli Yoxippa plays these riffs in a way that I can actually enjoy. They also play some great pounding chugs, and they even play a few solos that are wondrous and graceful.
The first few minutes of this EP are kind of bland, but it gets way better after that. The guitars are fantastic and provide a great deal of melody, and I really liked the folk elements they included. To be honest, I never cared much for folk metal, but after listening to bands like Camaxtli Yoxippa, perhaps I should pay more attention to it.