Review 1634 : Xalpen – The Curse Of Kwányep – English

Xalpen signs their second album.

Formed in 2014 in Chile, the band led by Tarem Keláash (bass/vocals, Execrator, Kako Daimon, Undercroft, live for Watain), Keykrók (guitar/vocals) and more recently Koch-Keul (drums, Exanimatvm, Meconio) announces The Curse of Kwányep, on Black Lodge Records.

We also have Kree-chinen (guitar, Inner Dystopia, Exanimatvm), George Emmanuel (guitar, Lucifer’s Child, ex-Chaostar, ex-Rotting Christ live) and Dalila Damaris (vocals) on the album.

After an occult and disturbing introduction named K’Yewé, the band attacks with aggressive Old School sounds on Chenke (Place of Death), putting a sharp and fast Black Metal at work with possessed screams. Some Black/Death influences give energy to some catchy and furious patterns before Kòlpèwsh (Serpents Dance) unveils a heavy and dissonant sound, especially on the leads, which wonderfully accompanies the hellish screams. We will also find more melodic heavy influences in the solo, then on The Curse Of Kwányep (Kwányep chenen), the very long eponymous track, which couples its surge of violence to heady and airy, almost soothing sounds. The track will slow down to let some voices escape from its march before accelerating again, finally giving way to The Beast from the East (Wentek Kwakar) and its more raw approach embellished with blast and impressive drum parts. Although shorter, it remains extremely effective and will have no trouble federating live thanks to its catchy aggressiveness, just like Kash Wayèwèn Qèr (The deep speaking of the spirits) which lets blast reign over a good part of the track, while allowing darker and heady melodies to offer short moments of respite with unhealthy sounds. Mah Ká (Offering Chant) unveils a new disturbing and rather foggy sample which barely lets us understand its lyrics, then Daughters of the Nightside (K’qawq’n Kam) comes back to icy Black Metal while combining it with disturbing and heady sounds, easily recreating the mystical and occult atmosphere. The ceremony will give birth to Moon Woman (Kre’-Naa) where the band welcomes E. Forcas (Degial, Watain) on drums for a wave of strength and raw rage, once again returning to their style’s most aggressive roots. After the hurricane, Hain Koijn Harsho comes to offer us a last moment of communion with the occult forces thanks to these ritualistic percussions accompanied by a melancholic guitar, then by strange voices before Diabolica, the last track the band borrows from Angeles del Infierno, places its heavy basis and clean vocals at the service of Black Metal, creating an energetic but amazing mix.

Xalpen controls dark arts as well as sharp riffs, occult atmospheres and unhealthy screams. The Curse Of Kwányep offers catchy tracks, that’s obvious, but we’ll also notice the heavy Old School touch coming out of it.


Version Française ?

Few questions to Alvaro “Tarem Keláash” Lillo, founder member, bass player and vocalist for Xalpen.

Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band Xalpen?
Alvaro “Tarem Keláash” Lillo (bass/vocals): Hello, we are Xalpen from Chile, we stand for true and raw Black Metal of Death, and our band name is taken from the Selk´nam mythological pantheon. Xalpen represents the untamed forces of the underworld, a furious and misanthropic manifestation of a merciless goddess and ruler of the seven dark realms beneath. Our bridge to her spiritual abyss is through chaos, extreme music, and devotion.

The Curse Of Kwányep, your new album, is about to come out. How do you feel about it? Do you already have some feedback?
Alvaro: As you mentioned, the album will be released on March 24th (2023) under Black Lodge Records/Sound Pollution Distribution (Sweden). We are very anxious and of course, looking forward to this release and the work ahead that the new album will bring to us.

How would you sum The Curse Of Kwányep up in only three words?
Alvaro: Choleric, poisonous, darkness.

How did you deal with the composition process for this album? Did you notice some changes between this record and the beginning of the band?
Alvaro: We don’t see it as a change, maybe in terms of sound you will see some kind of evolution since this time we managed to prepare and recorded the album as a full band in Uppsala Sweden, But in general, if you want to compare with first materials, this one it has a better production than past releases, more professional teamwork, quality wise is higher in every aspect of the recording, all these differences are part of the continuation and growing as a solid band and show part of the dark journey we are with Xalpen.

Xalpen’s universe is actually focusing on Raw Black Metal-themed Satanism/Ancient Chaos gods, how did you get familiar with this universe? How do you apply it to the band’s music?
Alvaro: For us, the term Satanism has a very strong and important relationship with the music and the personal philosophy within Xalpen. We see it as the spiritual connection with the realms and the cult of Death. Black Metal is the magical and sinister bridge between us and the dark beyond, is the black portal to the formless freedom and the Ancient Chaos Gods!

To me, one of the most surprising songs is The Curse Of Kwányep, the eponymous one, which is very airy and still extremely abrasive. Was the approach different for this one?
Alvaro: Every song on this album has its own essence and personality in a musical and lyrical way, also we can say that every song is special and has different approaches. Here I will like to add some information and extra details about this song.

The Curse of Kwányep (Kwányep Chenen): Kwányep, the instigator of death, is one of the main Howenh or Hóowin (gods, shamans, or ancestors who inhabited the Earth during the mythic era) of the Selk´nam mythology. During the age of the Howenh, there was no such thing as death (as we know it); in fact, mythological ancestors were immortal. As ancient legends tell, from the North sky Kwányep brought death to the earth, death as we know it, alluding to the time when he used his great power so that his older brother Aukmenk, as his personal request and will, could not revive. From that moment on, no one could wake up again after dying (as happened with the Howenh that entered a state of temporary death or dream/sleep to rejuvenate and wake up again). After the establishment of the true Death, Kwányep and his family rose to the sky and became stars, forming the constellation of Orion, being himself the brightest one, Betelgeuse. Other anthropologists and authors talk about Kwányip flight to the sky and did become the Antares star in the Scorpius constellation, others mentioned the relation with the Southern cross, etc. As the myth continues, and also says that Kwányep decided to distribute the day and night equally, making it possible for the darkness last longer and longer, thereby giving the creatures of the night a growing place of development and freedom. This curse or transgressor intervention in the order established by a celestial creator marks the end of the mythological era and the beginning of the era of mortals.”

You also decided to record a cover of the Heavy Metal band Angeles del Infierno, how did you decide to pick this one?
Alvaro: Diabolicca it’s indeed a great classic from the legendary band Angeles del Infierno. We simply decided to do this cover song as a small homage on behalf of the old school diabolic Heavy Metal, it was recorded at the album recording session in Sweden, also we invited 2 admirable Chilean artists who recorded their tracks and sent them to us for the mixing process. Our first guess was the talented and magical Morgan « Voodoo Queen » who took over the lead vocals with an excellent result. Our second guest was Mister Cristian « Negro » Herrera who made a genius performance on the guitar solo.

Maybe you have a favorite song on this album? Or the one you just can’t wait to play on stage?
Alvaro: Every song on the album has significance for us, every single song we wish to play on the stage. That’s something we will develop that question and make the right decisions about.

Do you already have some plans for the band’s future?
Alvaro: We have many plans with Xalpen, one of those is the idea to build some tours in and across Europe. We are also focused on other possibilities such as performing anywhere in the world, this road has no return, and we will continue facing new challenges in our path and growth as an extreme occult band.

Are there any musicians or bands you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, an album…
Alvaro: The truth is, we do not focus on that, although there are brothers who need and ask for collaboration, then in that case we discuss the situation and probably do it. Also on the road, we have been calling some brothers in arms who collaborate with us in Xalpen.

With which bands would you love to tour with? I let you create a tour (or just a single show) with Xalpen and three other bands!
Alvaro: We don’t have specific thoughts about who to play with, we will see that at the right moment and when a tour or concert comes but if it’s to create an imaginary fantastic scenario, we can respectfully say: Bathory, Dissection, Arckanum, Xalpen.

That was the last question for me, so thank you very much for your time and your music, last words are yours!
Alvaro: Thank you very much for your interest in Xalpen, and of course, also for the support. Stay tuned for Xalpen’s news and further plans. Keep on the path of poisonous thorns!

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