Holy crap, Xerath. I've confessed before that I often will stop and check out a new metal band based solely on its album cover. And UK metallers Xerath's latest album III has a classic apocalyptic theme going for it with fiery reds on one side and icy blues on the other, and a lone woman standing amongst (or, perhaps more accurately, submitting to) all hell breaking loose. After listening to this album I feel like this is exactly what's happening sonically here.
Taking their metal assault on the senses (à la Meshuggah) in a new direction with a bonafide string quartet in the mix, Xerath lays down grooves like it's been personally put in charge of writing Armageddon's soundtrack (the biblical event, not the movie, kids). But there's a great sense of melodicism to be found here that many extreme metal bands lack, for my tastes. I'm also impressed with Irish newcomer Conor McGouran (replacing exiting Owen Williams) and his guitar solo work. Nicely done, lad. It's all pretty epic sounding, even if some of the songs seem to blend into each other after a while, but you won't lack for heavy, monster grooves here. Count on it.
The Bottom Line: Xerath's latest studio effort accomplishes the rare feat of laying down heavy as shit, complex rhythyms while still sounding melodic and...well, musical. Good on ya, boys.
- Genghis is itchin' for some serious new live heavy metal action...