Premiere: Rejekts – Il Quinto Sole
For those who like their Crusto Italiano burnt pitch black.
Metal’s got plenty, dare I say, too much music about the good Ol’ Norse and their pre-Ikea bloodthirsty ways. Sure they fought and pillaged and salted their fair share of earth, and occasionally sacrificed a prisoner or two to the gods with a wink and dismissive “thanks kid”, but frankly they were amateurs at the oppression game. While they were sailing around the North Sea like it’s Tuesday’s bathwater, on the other side of the planet, the Mezoamericans were popping heads like Halloween candy. Unlike the Norse, their gods weren’t kooky tricksters and drunkards, but brutal dictators and supreme fascists who saddled them with a debt—100 bodies a year or the Earth gets dragged out of sunlight, forever. Forget vikings, Rejekts “Il Quinto Sole” (The Fifth Sun) is about this most metal of debts and most brutal of debt collectors, the Aztecs.
Much like their religion’s impending doom, the song starts off a hammering wall of constant guitar noise with occasional drum fills for texture—as the vocals unexpectedly jump between guttural meat-grinder growls, almost-hardcore-sounding shouts, and spine-crawling shrieks that feel almost Wormrot-esque. Then suddenly the tempo drops and we’re given a brief reprieve from the guitars with the singer still screaming high-pitched doom right before crashing into another wall of sound for the final few seconds. You can almost think of the pacing as what I imagine a death march for an Aztec prisoner would be—slogging through the city in chains until feeling a hefty moment of calm as you stop before the mad, screaming priests at the top of the pyramid—a brief clarity of fate before they quickly rend your heart as tribute to the Sun.
Now before you think you’ve found something as rare as an apolitical crust band, there’s subtext here. The song suggests that brutal acts of madness and violence such as this are only possible when the powerful subjugate and extort the masses through fear. And while you’re probably not going to be ripping anyone’s heart out kung-fu style anytime soon, “Il Quinto Sole“ seems like a call to reflect on the subtler ways in which the powerful and privileged in the world beget much of its violence by subordinating the weaker or less fortunate.
If you’re salivating for more of this Italian-led death trip through Central American history, Rejekts‘ latest album Adamo drops December 3rd later this year. In the mean time you can hear “Il Quinto Sole” on Bandcamp via the player below.