Friday, June 2, 2017

Xoth - Invasion Of The Tentacube



Would you take a look at that album art waveriders?  While searching for new music I stumbled across that cover, sort of chuckled at the album title and thought yeah, why not?  I clicked the play button believing that I knew precisely what I was getting myself into.  I was wrong.  Xoth and their full-length offering Invasion Of The Tentacube have blown me away!

I'm not asking for sympathy but let me ask you another question.  Based off the band name, album title, and artwork is it reasonable for a listener to expect to hear some standard death metal?  Maybe you're thinking with the sci-fi theme these tunes will fall more in line with technical death metal?  I know I did!  The reality however was an incredibly pleasant surprise.  Yes, Xoth play music which at it's core I would describe as death metal, but death metal that incorporates a lot of unique features to help the band stand out from the pack.

The first element which jumped out to my ears was the bass guitar.  Unlike quite a few other extreme metal acts I've listened to Xoth place the bass right up front in the production mix.  The bass is just as important to these songs as the two guitars, and Ben Bennett's playing is extraordinary.  Speaking of the guitars I was also not anticipating dueling guitar lines that would be equally at home on a classic NWOBHM release.  Tyler Splurgis and Woody Adler play seamlessly off of each other and dexterously navigate the rapid fire compositional shifts found inside each song. 
 
Jeremy Salvo, the drummer, is a monster.  His playing anchors the group to their death metal foundation.  Similar to the other musicians however, his playing smoothly alters itself to accommodate the other musical elements Xoth incorporate.  "Transcending The Energy Harvest" leans heavily into black metal territory while "Antediluvian Annihilation" skews predominantly towards progressive metal.  "Digital Mausoleum" above all the other tracks screams NWOBHM while "Terramorphosis" revels inside it's highly technical death metal.  Would I go so far as to describe "Universal Death" as sounding downright folksy?  Yes.  Yes I would.

Waveriders, Invasion Of The Tentacube is a fantastically inventive album which will surprise and delight your ears from start to finish.  Come for the crazy art and title, stay for the intricate and satisfying music.  Xoth be praised!

-Penfold

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