Pitchfork (Website) - "The band emerges as an even more confident war machine with TIERRA Y LIBERTAD, streamlining their sound, cranking the tempos, and tipping the balance towards death metal."
Lyricist: Nate Rebolledo.
Personnel: Brian Ortiz (vocals, guitar); Nate Rebolledo (vocals); Mike Salazar, Jensen Huele (guitar); Jason Brunes (drums).
Audio Mixer: Taylor Young.
Recording information: The Pit Recording Studio.
The third studio long-player from the Southern California-based hardcore unit, the Southern Lord-issued Tierra y Libertad doubles down on Xibalba's penchant for pairing Gatling gun shredding and guttural blasts of phlegm with beefy deathcore breakdowns, resulting in something that slightly resembles vintage L.A. punk-addled crossover metal that's been run through the meat grinder a few times. Faster and cockier than 2012's Hasta La Muerte, but no less punishing, Xibalba go deeper into death metal this time around, offering up a blistering, beatdown-heavy 11-track set that invokes names like Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, Nails, and Bolt Thrower. Shot through with a nervy metalcore sheen, Tierra y Libertad is at its best when it's about to go off the rails, and standout cuts like "Guerrilla," "Enimigo," and the savage title track go straight for the jugular, stacking thick, palm-muted riffage and apocalyptic gang vocals against a feeding frenzy of precision double-kick drumming. Luckily, Xibalba prefer brevity in the face of such violence, and with the exception of the epic, doom-crusted closer "El Vacío," the listener is rarely subjected to a shellacking that lasts more than four or five minutes. ~ James Christopher Monger