The Mexican side of my family is Aztec, so when an Aztec exhibit comes to California, I pay attention.
The Aztecs were an evolution of Mexican high culture (think Mayans) at the end of its glory. There were environmental stresses like drought, and centuries of intermittent war. Society was so stratified that there was a lot of socioeconomic class stress. Neighborhoods specialized in various services and crafts, much like 1800’s New York. Human sacrifices were forms of black magic that show that the original goddess/nature worship spiritual structure had devolved to desparate bids for help from the gods.
Despite the modern bent of the human thought in Teotihuacan, they still maintained a crazy gorgeous aesthetic in the execution of their sacred architecture and art. Here is a small taste of how sophisticated the Aztecs were in representing sacred art.