(We begin a new week at NCS with Comrade Aleks‘s interview of Brian Ortiz, a member of Xibalba and the creative force behind the California death-doom band Tzompantli, whose debut album was released last year by 20 Buck Spin.)
A tzompantli was a type of wooden rack or palisade documented in several Mesoamerican civilizations, which was used for the public display of human skulls, typically those of war captives or other sacrificial victims. Also it’s a death-doom band from Pomona, California.
Started in 2019 as a solo project of Brian a.k.a. Big o))), Tzompantli first shot out the EP Tlamanalli in 2019. Brian has been the guitarist of death metal / metalcore outfit Xibalba since 2007, so he knew how to deal with a lot of instruments and recording witchcraft too. His efforts were noticed by 20 Buck Spin, who soon signed the band. As result Brian’s next album Tlazcaltiliztli was recorded with G-Bone and Mateotl Gonzalez (both perform many of the folk instruments) and saw the light of day through this label in May 2022. However these songs are far from folk and embody the extreme, meat-grinding and bloody side of death-doom.
Now Tzompantli has a full live line-up and I can’t skip a chance to learn more about Indigenous Mexican death-doom from Brian.