Wednesday 26 June 2019

Tiltik Ujti - El comienzo de nuestra etnia (2019)

Country: El Salvador
Style: Folk Metal
Rating: 6/10
Release Date: 10 Jun 2019
Sites: Facebook | YouTube

For those who expect their folk metal to be either based on Celtic sounds or Scandinavian drinking songs, check out Tiltik Ujti, who describe what they do as "folk metal pre hispánico" (I so need one of those shirts), though they sing in Spanish as well as Nahuatl. Mostly it means that you shouldn't expect any fiddles or accordions but there's copious use of pan pipes and flutes and other Central and South American instruments. Is that an eight string ukelele to kick off a couple of songs?

For that Salvadorian flavour, just check out the first minute of Cayahuanca, which opens up this three track EP, or watch the video for Cihuatán. I like these folk already and I've never met them. I adore the fact that there's a kid on tambourine, dressed in traditional attire, while the jaguar warriors battle each other around their ancient site (at both ōllamalitzli and war, if the two can be separated "pre hispánico"). I love that he gets to be part of this. That's good parenting right there!

And I love the contrast between the breathy flutes and the downtuned metal framework. Enrique Valencia's metal voice is a mixture of black and death, while the guitar of César Cortez and drums of Isaac Marinero are darker and deeper than heavy metal so often remind of death, especially in the faster sections and sometimes, in the slower ones, hint at doom. I love this band most when they're blistering fast but there are flutes dancing above them.

Cayahuanca and Cihuatán do other things too, that metal framework slowing down to give traditional chanting or instrumentation a suitable turn in the spotlight. This is folk metal, after all. There's even a guitar section in Cayahuanca that oddly reminds of House of the Rising Sun.

Quelepa, the third song here that sits between them, is shorter, only just over half the length of Cayahuanca, and it gets down to business right away with both sides of that contrast: blistering metal guitarwork and breathy flutes. It's glorious stuff, though it's held back somewhat by lacklustre production values. Quelepa gets especially muddy in the middle.

Beyond the production, the biggest problem at hand is that El comienzo de nuestra etnia, which translates to The Beginning of Our Ethnicity, runs a skimpy eleven and a half minutes. Sure, it's an EP but that's a short EP and after three tracks of this I'm in the mood for a full album.

It looks like Tiltik Ujti used to be called Dark Transition but this marks their debut in the studio. I'd love to hear more. How about a full length release sometime, folks?

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