Album: Deidadas Del Inframundo
Label: Dunkelheit Produktionen
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: 23 July, 2018
Tunjum is a three piece death metal group from Lima, Peru with a lyrical theme dealing with ancient Muchik culture and myths. Tunjum is comprised of Kultarr (Clara Herrera) on drums and vocals, Evil Avatar (Miguel Angel Beraun) on guitar, and Saj (Alex Hurtado) on lead guitar and bass. Formed in 2007, Tunjum have released two promos, an EP, a demo, and a split. Thematically Deidadas Del Inframundo, their first full length, is almost a unique piece of death metal, but you only get that digging into the lyrics, or if you speak Spanish and can decipher the growls. Otherwise you’re left with a good album in the vein of Incantation.
Low and variable speed death metal is what is offered up here, and Tunjum are quite good at it. Kultarr’s growls are consistently in the lower register; no shrieks to be found here. Saj’s bass playing stands out more than the guitars do in most of the songs; having a bouncy quality at times, it sometimes seems to lead the music. Kultarr, also on drum duty, does a commendable job at holding down the low end and meeting the guitars and bass in intensity.
This brings me to the first real problem with the album. It’s good, but it stops there. I’ve listened to this album a lot at this point, and I do like it, but I don’t love it. Save for a few highlight moments this album doesn’t rise above the sum of its parts. This leaves me conflicted as to how to accurately judge Tunjum on their first full length. If I rate it only as an old-school send up of Incantation, it does remarkably well, but I feel that is unfair in the dense death metal landscape. Deidadas Del Inframundo is a good album swimming in a sea of great ones.
The second issue I found with the album is a common problem among bands standing in the shadow of Incantation, the songs sound a little too similar to each other. A few exceptions pop up on the album, but mostly by way of moments rather than whole songs. Within the songs there isn’t a great deal of changing either; you tend to end with the same riff you heard throughout the track. There is some of the Incantation –standard variable speeds on the songs, but it doesn’t last long and you always wind up back where you began. When it slows to a crawl, there is a spark of something special before the glow fades away again.
Tunjum has created something that I do enjoy and I know I will find myself returning to from time to time, but I’m into people using the Incantation sound and putting their unique spin on it. Without that ingrained love for this specific style of death metal, there isn’t much setting them apart from the pack of sound-alikes out there already save for their thematic concept.
Ancient Muchik culture and myths is what could help Tunjum stand out. The album is billed as ancestral death metal, and I’ll admit that suckered me right in. I was able to translate and read through some of the lyrics while listening to the album, which I do think fit this music quite well. The two songs I translated tell of a beast come to take revenge on and eat humans, and a dark demon-worshipped Queen/deity. The rest of the song titles when translated offer hints as to their content as well; Ancient God of the Night, The Curse of the Witch, Destination of the Captives, Demons of the Earth, Rebellion of the Underworld, and Return to the Origin.
Overall this is a good release by a solid band, but it came out at a time when everyone is exceeding expectations and blowing minds. Tunjum have a good foundation to build upon and with their unique lyrical inspiration they have filled a niche that is seeing an expansion recently, death metal steeped in ancient culture and myth. I don’t know what I’d like to see from a sophomore release, but I’m definitely interested in seeing what comes from this collective next.
1. La Venganza De La Bestia Lunar
2. Difunta Señora Soberana
3. Antiguo Dios De La Noche
4. La Maldición De La Bruja
5. Destino De Los Cautivos
6. Demonios De La Tierra
7. Rebellión Del Inframundo
8. Retorno Al Origen
Total Playing Time: 41:35