(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Tepeu (2016), 6.5/10
I Know it's the Trees (2016), 6/10
Well of Sacrifice (2017), 6/10
Kukulkan (2018), 6/10

Qu'qu'matz, a duo based in Nevada's Lake Tahoe, i.e. drummer Loren Zibull and guitarist Christophe Bassett, took their name from the legendary Maya feathered serpent god. Tepeu (2016), whose title references the god that, according to the "Popol Vuh", created humankind together with Qu'qu'matz, contains three lengthy pieces and three interludes. Only the Sky Existed (15:54) alternates bursts of black metal, sections of brainy prog-rock, tribal percussion of the pow-wow kind and melodic guitar lines. Xpiacoc and Xmucane (12:20), the most mutating piece, almost a collage of different pieces, is best in the chaotic, viscous and dark sections. A flute invocation opens and closes Tepeu (24:51), a colossal piece that runs the gamut from torrential grindcore to free-form soundscapes full of drones and dissonance. They all have intriguing passages although they could be trimmed down quite a bit, at least removing the most naive guitar and drumming raids. Among the interludes, the soul-jazz shuffle Ik Kil Cenote stands out.

Unfortunately in a few months they already released another hour of material on I Know it's the Trees (2016), mainly the 63-minute three movement suite I Know it's the Trees. The first movement boasts a cute circus march (minute 7) and a comic cacophony (minute 10). There isn't much to salvage in the second movement, which for 13 minutes sounds like a cover band playing some prog-rock suite of the 1970s. The third movement is, if nothing else, more exuberant, peaking around minute 8, and this is followed by flute-driven Native American dances. A poppy guitar melody is repeated a million times and then dissolved in some kind of shamanic ritual. But the piece could easily be trimmed of 50 redundant minutes,

Four more polymorphic monoliths surfaced on Well of Sacrifice (2017). The most effective, Cave of Blood (13:51), marks a quantum jump in production quality, and the most propulsive, Jaya-Vijaya (15:27), flows smoothly without overstaying its welcome despite ups and downs in tension. Alas, the longest, Ndaxagua (24:15), does not have enough ideas to sustain its 24 minutes, although its energy and momentum occasionally ignite (for example, the crescendo at minute 18).

The EP The Blistering Days (2017) contains black-metal frenzy I Called Upon the Hillside (9:29) and the jazzy The Madrid Codex (12:57)

And four more exhausting jams appeared on Kukulkan (2018), notably the torrential beginning of Jacawitz and the "stoner-rock" ending of Kukulkan. This time the one piece that has little fluff is actually the longest, Guatemalan Highlands (19:32), whose aggressive and impressionistic sections composed an effective travel journal, evoking both the grandeur and the mystery of the Yucatan jungle.

Bassett and Zibull also played in FJF that released Flavour of the Cold Spot (2016) and Songs in the Key of Lime (2016).

Bassett played guitar and Zibull played drums on Noosefiller's albums Noosefiler (2016), Noosefiller (2017), Noosefilller (2018) and Noosefillller (2019), with A.O.S Heirdrain on vocals.

Zibull also released albums under the moniker Zon: Altar of ZoN (2016), Mount Gaash (2016), and Desert Universe (2018). His project Math And Science had already released Psychedelicious (2015) and Meefer Radness (2016) and Indentured Servant had released three albums in one year: Heaven for Sadists (2015), No Friends for the Killer (2015) and Head and Hands (2015). He had debuted as Trouble Salad with Battle of Worlds (2014), and then released 19 albums in 2015, 7 in 2016, 6 in 2017, etc.

Christophe Bassett was also active as Jesus the Carpenter and Wolves in Sheelskin.

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