CH’AHOM – CAMAZOTZ CULT (Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

In these tedious, tiresome times of seemingly-endless, same-sounding, mundane, derivative mediocrity, authentic obscurity has become the Holy Grail. Who can do something that is not only different but also worthwhile? Not too many, as it happens. But the teeming underground does keep producing special acts and special moments, such as ‘Camazotz Cult’ – the career-spanning compendium of occult oddity Ch’ahom, who are strangely, uncannily and refreshingly out of time and out of place.

Collating all the material from the band’s four demos – namely ‘The Raid of the Tzitzimime’, ‘Oblation’, ‘Path to Ixtab’ and ‘Lustfully Sinning for Death Metal’ – into one immense 18-track, 56-minute monolith of ancient necromancy, remastered for this landmark occasion, ‘Camazotz Cult’ may have emanated from the Rhineland but its true spiritual and cultural roots seem to be embedded in Mesoamerica, honouring and celebrating the death rituals and blood-shedding of the Aztecs.

Musically, there are clear similarities to North American pre-Hispanic themed acts such as Blue Hummingbird on the Left and Tzompantli – especially on the instrumentals – but Ch’ahom also has a boot firmly planted in the crude and violent Von / Beherit / Profanatica camp, issuing a dizzying onslaught of short, sharp shocks with an indifference bordering on contempt. It’s a heady brew indeed and the result is one of the most unique and original collections of Black / Death Metal barbarism you could wish to encounter.

Ch’ahom have since completed work on their forthcoming debut full-length and apparently ‘Knots of Abhorrence’ represents a departure of sorts from the sounds captured here. Thus ‘Camazotz Cult’ is the ideal way to draw a line under the horde’s work thus far and as an added bonus it just so happens that – from start to finish – this is a truly immense, inspired and gloriously obscure release in its own right.

Evilometer: 666/666