Xasthur - Victims of the Times (2021)


It was quite a shock when we listened to the first cross-over dark/neo folk Xasthur release as we expected the band’s older style. However, we managed to get over it as many years have passed and actually enjoyed their Prophecy Fest 2018 (USA edition) performance quite a lot. In “Victims of the Times”, Malefic delivers around 70 minutes of engaging dark and somber music that could be described as a combination of King Dude, Dornenreich, with some Americana elements.

Not everybody can pull off the Dark Folk style, but as the album starts with “Same Old Suspects”, it is instantly clear that Malefic perfectly blends somber arrangements with crafty guitars and a personable voice. Mixing in acoustic 1 -2 minute long interludes between the first 10 or so tracks brilliantly works for this release as a transition between tracks like “Mirror in the Face”, “Fairy Tale Ideologies”, and “Stars Amongst Failures”, allows the songs with vocals to be better framed and more effective.

The second half of this double album takes a more sinister turn as the tracks seem shorter and more direct, with eerie pieces like “Digital Beast”, “Allegiance to the Meaningless”, and our personal favorite “Justify Your End”. Mixing elements from both Neo Folk bands like Tenhi, with his own brand of madness, Malefic has managed to create a very visceral and yet quite engaging release that is both intoxicating and hypnotic.

While some people might still be shocked that Xasthur is not playing Depressive Black Metal, this release features a similarly dark and crafty edge that is both enjoyable and playful at times. For the fans of bands like Tenhi, King Dude, Empyrium, Of the Wand and the Moon, etc., this release is quite engaging and digestible, so feel free to give it a try as it is somber and dark as any other more extreme release.

Band: Xasthur Album: Victims of the Times

Label: Prophecy Productions

Release: July 9th, 2021

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Genre: Dark/Neo Folk

Country: USA

Rating: 90/100

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