Tzompantli Beating_the_drums_of_ancestral_force

Tzompantli - Beating the Drums of Ancestral Force


Have you ever wondered what the perfect soundtrack for battle is? Look no further, as Tzompantli’s Beating the Drums of Ancestral Force is full of skull crushing drums and heavy riffs that will make the enemy run for their lives. This album combines powerful Death Doom mixed with Native/Indigenous traditional instruments that make Tzompantli’s music unique. It achieves an element that almost sounds like what you might hear whilst ascending the steps of an Aztec temple, on your way to becoming a sacrificial offering to the gods and knowing that your head will be next one to be added to the rack.

Tzompantli is a Death Doom band hailing from California and formed by Brian Big O))) “Itzlakamayeh” Ortiz (also known for his work in Xibalba) who named this band for the racks used by the Aztecs to display the heads and skulls of those sacrificed or killed in battle. This is very on brand and staying true to their roots, as Tzompantli mixes Death Doom with Indigenous and Native themes, language, rituals and traditions. Their first EP, Tlamanalli was released back in 2020 and after this, they released their first album called Tlazcaltiliztli on 20 Buck Spin back in 2022. Beating the Drums of Ancestral Force provides those elements that are characteristic to Tzompantli, while increasing the intensity and heaviness and making this album one you definitely need to check out. The cover art itself (by Adam Burke) lets you know what this beast of an album is all about.

The first track on this album is “Tetzahuitl”. It provides this album with a threatening start, coming in at full force with a scream that would get any army psyched for battle. This is the perfect example of what Tzompantli is about and showcases the elements that they are known for: brutal riffs and vocals, heavy and intense drumming and adding those Hardcore-like breakdowns. If this is the start, then we know this will be an album filled with one brutally great track after the other. Next up is “Tlayohualli” - still keeping that pace, and still keeping you in its hold. The riffs, the tone and all the layers that constitute a Tzompantli-song are there and they are amazing, I cannot get enough of the sound, heaviness and intensity this album provides and we’re just two songs in. “Tlaloc Icuic” has this rain sound (“Tlaloc” being the Aztec god of rain) in the background while a whistle and rattling sound making an hypnotic intro. The vocals bring a certain mysticism to the song, but don’t be fooled! The intensity is about to go up and it sounds amazing and terrifying at the same time. The blasting drums in “Chichimecatl” are what breaks the trance moment, as experienced on the track before, with full force taking no prisoners. The more I’m diving into this album, the more I love it. Now, my favourite track is “Tetzaviztli” for the following reasons: it mixes those almost hypnotic layers with the tone and that Death Doom sound I love and do I need to say something about those riffs? I’ll let this one speak for itself. “Otlica Mictlan” is an amazing penultimate track, not letting your attention relinquish for any second and showing you why Beating the Drums of Ancestral Force takes no prisoners. “Icnocuicatl” brings this album to an end, all those Doom elements taking form within this beautiful track but then again, preparing you in a way for what’s about to come.

Tzompantli have proven, again, that they create amazing music while keeping true to their culture and showcasing all the elements that make their music great. It’s an album that absolutely shouldn’t be missed. 2024 has given us great releases so far and Beating the Drums of Ancestral Force is definitely among them, at the very top.