Article by Anton Rudrick.
Originally babtized as Amerindio at its time of conception in 2014, the project today known to us as Itzamná presents us with one of the forms of Thrash that are most authentically crude. This flows from an inner knowing of violence and adversity which foundation upon personal experience can alone provide. As per Thrash tradition (not to be confused with Speed Metal, also known as “Thrash Metal” in less versed circles), Itzamná channel the spirit of hardcore punk through the phrase-like riffcraft of underground metal. This lends a more apocalyptic character and a bloody thrust to the music in the form of heaviness that it would otherwise be remiss to lack, given the unapologetic finality of the propositions to be found herein.
The band changes its name to Itzamná shortly after drummer Elfrid Barahona leaves to attend matters of substinence and survival, leaving bass and voice, Carlos Velásquez, to muster energies and means to persist on his own. This void was supplemented by the temporary inclusion of José Santos and Héctor Morán, in drum and voice duties, respectively. By 2015, five pieces have been arranged in crude form and a the idea of a demo arises. In 2016, Drummer José Santos leaves, then, to work on his own musical project, shortly after having recorded a rough version of Maldito Predicador through extreme underground label Culebra Anticorporation of Guatemala. The center of the release are five compositions – furious battering rams that spit out pestilent truths against the fucking system.
Structurally, Maldito Predicador, does not bother with conventionalism in any way, opting for the simple and direct as the law that guides an organic application of violence in the spasmodic and obdurate resilience in rhythmic pulses. The band lives a unique moment in a band’s lifetime when each piece composed is unique and utterly full of meaning. While the band remains quality-focused and seeks perfection with transformative reaffirmation along an evolutive path, the creative freshness of this fertile stage need not be lost.
The limitations of Thrash through a single guitar, bass and drums, do much to reveal the weaknesses of a band. Itzamná readily proves its mettle, providing both variety in riffs that wander between death-like phrases, grinding destruction, relatively long melodic riffs thatwould not be out of place in the arsenal of Hanneman, and unintelligible but adequate atonal solos of a rather obvious improvised and disrespectful nature. This is Thrash that borders on the elusive death metal of 1985 Slayer, but taken to the blurred extremes of an adverse existence which no suburban American can experience. Metal and Thrash, in the hands of third-world survivors that are touched by the Grim Muse, become a veritable portal to the savage and the primal. The difference here with Northern counterparts is that these come from first hand experience with corporeal and spiritual mutilation, and not tales of far-away death or suppressed rumors of governmental atrocities, the truth of which may be debatable in an irrelevant classroom.
Currently, Itzamná’s original drummer, Elfrid Barahona, has come back to fill drum duties, and alongside lead guitarist Edgar Ruiz, helps shape already published themes into more refined expressions of tumultuous revolt. True to its underground spirit looking beyond any narcissistic craving for a limelight, Itzamná expresses uninterest in rock star dreams, choosing extreme music as a way to reject both government and religion, holding up true ethnic origins as the key to a proud future in a recognition of collective and individual self and identity. Accroding to folklore, the name Itzamná itself belonged to a wise Mayan priest, a reference only those with eyes set on the horizon of the transcendental and the aeonic will be able to reconcile with the band’s official stance against corrupt dogma and mundane state.