I have to admit that I have always had a predilection for ancient and mysterious cultures, and as a band called TENOCHTITLAN (Tenochtitlan was the capital of the Aztec Empire) crossed my path, I was instantly incited, not least by the fact that it has been hailed as an Ethno Doom Metal, which suits me just fine as well.
The Russian quartet (whose members live in different cities, so actually never play together) conveys lyrically, different Central- and South-American cultures, Aztecs, Mayas, Incas, Toltecs etc. and musically they try to build a fitting atmosphere, an endeavor, which I could describe as a successful one, because the first highlight is already with the intro-instrumental "Och Vitz Ngui P'i Xo-xot".
I have no idea what language that is but that does not really matter, because with a blend of atmospheric keyboards, light rhythm, whispered vocals and this inspired flute/panpipe combination they really have a go and it could easily be used as a soundtrack. But that is not all what TENOCHTITLAN have to offer, because this intensive atmosphere runs through the most parts of “Chac Och Ut”, as proven by the following Ethno-Doom hammer “Astlan – A Way Made Of Dark Stone”, the track sets forth the intro with partly growled partly clearly sung passages which translates acoustically the bleakness of the rain forests.
“Haa ki-Um U Poc Av” is a completely instrumental song, which alternates between Doom and faster passages, yet again with the characteristically flute and atmospheric keyboards, another very strong song, whereas “Ch’e’nal” is an antipode to the whole album, being significantly faster and more aggressive, but is always being halted by calmer keyboard passages.
So far so good, but there are also things which draw some criticism, especially in “Can Quitlaz In Huelic Xochimeh” and even more in “Tsompantly”. The first one loses its flow, whereas the second surprisingly fast one, is destroyed by drum-computer which was mixed too loud and buries everything that is built around him.
But in spite of this criticism, I have to say that “Chac Och Ut” became a very interesting affair, which would address to those fans who like a somewhat different music, and could be loved by Doom Metal fans. I would advice you to check out the mp3s! (Online August 27, 2006)