Everybody knows the city of Roswell, New Mexico because of the 1947 incident which involved the crash of what was said to be an alien spaceship. The number of people that know Roswell, New Mexico because of it being home to a death metal band called Stellarvorous Entity is most likely significantly lower. Funny really, whereas the first statement is doubtful at best, the latter is most definitely true, yet the truth is less well-known. Anyway, forget about the aliens, Stellarvorous Entity is way more interesting in my opinion. Being formed in 2012 near the end of the 13th Baktun (the final cycle of the Mayan calendar) there is not much known about this band, other than their obvious connection to the Central American historic culture. Consisting of three members, Steve Azathoth on guitar, Scott on bass and Anthony as vocalist, they remained off the grid until 2017, when they released their first demo called Nightmares of Depravity. Since then they have been pretty busy, releasing an EP and another demo, followed by another demo which is called Mictlan, the subject of this review. Again the band’s connection to the Central American historic culture is obvious, because Mictlan is the 9-level underworld in the Aztec beliefs, and the song titles are also references to that same mythology.
Opening intro Obsidian Dusk is a heavy set, short piece of work with a thundering guitar riff and a drum line in the leading role which roars into the title track. In the title track too the drums take the lead, building the song towards a wild, howling guitar solo Jeff Hanneman would be proud of. Interestingly enough there is no mention of a drummer in Stellarvorous Entity’s line-up, yet the drums are pretty prominent in their music. Maybe they indeed don’t have a drummer, forcing them to use a drum computer, or maybe he or she wants to remain anonymous, who knows? My guess would be the first, but I don’t have a shred of proof to support that guess. Anyway, successor Towers of Skulls starts at high speed, with, once more, the drums in the lead, gradually slowing down as the song progresses only to restart at full speed halfway through. Next up is Becoming a God, a seven-minute piece of work that has some potentially great rhythms, but has the tendency to drag a little at times. Minor criticism, though, it’s still very easily digestible. The same can be said from The Forsaken Temple of Mictlantecuhtli (The Aztec God of dead and king of Mictlan), although the ending more than makes up for that with another howling guitar solo. Song of Shields brings back some of the earlier variety with a few heavier parts that have a more dark atmosphere to them. Penultimate song Xolotl (A multi-tasking king in the Aztec mythology) has a classic, old school feel to it, which goes for album closer Jaguar Warrior as well.
In case you wonder why I haven’t talked about the vocals at all, that can easily be explained: they’re completely absent on Mictlan. In a way that’s a shame, because although Stellarvorous Entity’s music does not really needs vocals as it is, I am curious to hear how they would integrate vocal lines into their songs. Especially the parts where the songs have the tendency to drag a little vocals might just be what those songs need to distinguish themselves. On the other hand, like I said the tunes aren’t all that bad as they are now, so it’s not too big a deal, but you know… I’m just curious and I am certain they will add more depth and variation to the songs.
Having said this, with Mictlan Stellarvorous Entity delivers an eight-song demo on which they combine pounding, high-speed death metal with slower, more melodic parts. In essence there’s enough potential to grow into a solid representative of the genre, but in all honesty things need to crystallize some more in order to get to that point. The addition of vocals might help take the next step, although the absence of vocals isn’t a true show stopper. There’s enough to discover without them, but still. Another section where, in my opinion, there’s a lot to gain is in improving the production, some tweaking is not exactly an unnecessary luxury to be honest. Better sound makes more enjoyment. Don’t get me wrong, Mictlan is far from bad, I did enjoy it, it just simply could use a bit more tweaking. I will definitely keep an eye out for these guys.