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  • Jason Hesley

Descend Into The Aztec Underworld With Cabrakaän’s Melodic “Mictlán”

Cabrakaän was formed in 2011 by drummer Marko Cipäktli and vocalist Pat Cuikani who are both from Toluca, Mexico, and are currently based in Canada. They work with indigenous Mexican artists to incorporate authentic pre-Hispanic instruments like ocarinas, flutes, percussion instruments, and more in their dramatic, melodic music.

They are ready to release their third album “Aztlán” this year along with a documentary to share their culture in a metal format. The first single off this release “Mictlán” (pronounced mickt-lahn), details the nine levels of the underworld in Aztec mythology through which the dead must overcome a series of challenges before reaching their final resting place. The band explains more:

“Through haunting melodies and thunderous rhythms, “Mictlán” delves into the depths of Mictlán, painting a sonic landscape that takes listeners on a journey through the nine levels of the Aztec underworld. With its powerful and energetic sound, the song captures the essence of Mictlán, enveloping the audience in an otherworldly experience. Mictlán is a concept that is still relevant today in understanding the meaning of our lives. The song contains the musical elements that make Cabrakaän who they are: a fusion of folkloric themes, orchestral arrangements, and, of course: heavy metal.”

The band’s sound and style were initially influenced by popular metal acts like Nightwish, Amon Amarth, and European folk metal bands. Soon after, the band established a distinct sound, style, and ambition to tell the forgotten pre-hispanic folk stories, mythologies, histories, and traditions of Mexico’s sociocultural past and present. Musically, “Mictlán” features nylon string instruments to emulate the sound of a vihuela (Spanish guitar), hompak (Mayan trumpet), and orchestral arrangements.

Cabrakaän’s lyrics and music are thematic and are heavily inspired by Mexican culture, history, and mythology. In the past, Cipäktli and Cuikani’s lyrics have engaged with Aztec and Mayan mythology. Lyrics from their upcoming album will engage with a mix of themes related to the Spanish conquest and more mythological concepts. It is recommended for fans of Nightwish, Epica, and Equilibrium.

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