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
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).
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.