Xerath I

Written by: PP on 18/06/2009 23:09:05

A new band that brings something thoroughly original to the table isn't rare, but if they are able to combine that with words like brilliance, magnificence and the sort, well, chances are that you'll be blown away immediately. Needless to say (but I will anyway), Xerath fit that description on their debut "Xerath I", and my only real grudge with these guys is their awful, awful choice of a band name. They've been on my review list forever but I was never enticed to listen to it simply because usually bands with that sort of names are generic and stupid. If I feel this way, then most likely thousands of other people will as well, which is a great shame considering how close to incredible this record is.

The band itself describes their music as orchestral groove metal, or 'chug-score' to those in the know. Honestly though I'd rather label them as symphonic hardcore instead. Take a song like "False History", for instance, which has dramatic/epic orchestral composition resulting in cinematic symphonies thrown in the background to support Meshuggah style hypnotic riffing and a hardcore-inspired, solidly screamed bark. It effectively sounds as if Misery Signals decided to play black metal instead. It's full of ethereal soundscapes, but the overall feeling of misery, darkness and black melody on top will simultaneously put you in the direction of bands like Dimmu Borgir.

Considering how different those three bands mentioned sound from each other, I think it's fair to call "Xerath I" VERY original indeed. I can't think of a single instance where black metal and technical/progressive hardcore have been contrasted this explicitly (and successfully) on record. The backing symphonies are almost cinematic at times, though still distinctly black metal, while the rest of the instrumentation--including the vocals--is hardcore to its bone. I was thinking about any negative factors to mention about this record, but there are so few that I couldn't come up with anything else than that the symphonies are sometimes a bit too faded to make an impression. If you've read any of AP's reviews in the past 12 months, you should probably come to the same conclusion as I: this is right up his alley. Not just his though, a record this magnificent (in every possible meaning of that word) will be liked by everyone. Don't miss this.

Download: Intrenity, False History, Consequences
For the fans of: Misery Signals, Dimmu Borgir, Meshuggah
Listen: Myspace

Release date 25.05.2009
Candlelight Records

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