Xerath has been touted as a mixture of Meshuggah and the symphonic sound of Dimmu Borgir, and this is a very accurate description of this band in our opinion. Having an amazing movie score like bombastic sound they are here to blow people away.
Usually when a band is blown up to sound like this they end up being a big disappointment but for Xerath this rule does not apply, this band is all of that and way more, “I” is such a rich album that I had to listen to it more than ten times to fully appreciate and digest all the layers this release has.
The orchestration work is one of the best I’ve heard in Metal and it serves as a perfect epic backdrop to this band’s amazing skills at their instruments. Too bad all the orchestrations will be taken live probably as samples only. The bad thing about very bombastic sounding studio albums is that they never come close to sounding the same when played live and people feel cheated, hopefully this does not happen to Xerath.
Similar grooves that are characteristic of Meshuggah are present here and blend perfectly with the choirs, horns and string sections of the orchestration and give the music a very interesting sound unlike anything I’ve heard before.
The chugging guitar riffs ever present in the album make this release very comparable to other groove / progressive metal bands, but they never sound forced or over produced, Xerath has a very good ear of when to keep things simple and when to go crazy on the technical aspect, something that bands are never good at balancing.
The drumming is very well up to standard with most bands that play groove/ progressive metal and provides enough depth and variations to the music and blends magically with the orchestration. This is one of the albums best features, how well the ‘aggressive’ music blends with the beauty and emotion of the symphonic aspect, creating very magical moments that will bring many people to nirvana.
The harsh vocals from my perspective are the weakest thing in this release, since they sound very dull and monotonous, maybe experimenting with clean vocals, or no vocals at all would be better.
Xerath’s “I” will probably be called a landmark in Metal, since it manages to fuse the massiveness of a classical score with the aggressiveness of Metal, and they do so in a very majestic manner. This album will be on my top 10 for the year for sure.
|Label: Candlelight Records USA
Release: August 11, 2009
|Genre: Symphonic Groove / Prog. Metal