Xerath - III review


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Band: Xerath
Album: III
Release date: September 2014

01. I Hold Dominion
02. 2053
03. I Hunt For The Weak
04. Autonomous
05. Bleed This Body Clean
06. Death Defiant
07. Sentinels
08. Passenger
09. Ironclad
10. Demigod Doctrine
11. The Chaos Reign
12. Witness
13. Veil Pt. 1
14. Veil Pt. 2

Harmony of elements can be a truly spectacular thing. While metal and symphony have formed many remarkable unions in the past, Xerath's more modern approach seeks continual refinement in order to leave their own impression on the unison. One would assume some simple math would apply here; I + II = III, ergo this album is more than just another number in a discographical sequence, and is the sum of the band's studio strengths. Yet simple math metal this is not, the polyrhythmic driven effort to meld the two elements in a refreshing way requires more than a simple approach, which leads to the question: is the third time the charm?

What was previously a mathematical precision in groove founded in the grand sweep of symphony is now a mathematician wielding a metallic conductor's baton, the well produced groove gestures more generously guiding the equally representative orchestral movements as a honed performing unit. Transitions serve to maximise the impact of the often explosive metal rhythm section, which propels itself in time with an accessibly controlled chaos to the ongoing orchestra, only to momentarily break free and seek out a solo and devastating course of its own trajectory.

The resulting impact in the delivery of this record, despite running for over an hour, is considerably more direct than I and II; the performance is tight and the tracks rigidly abide by a durational format averaging at about four and a half minutes apiece. The problem of track distinction remains a consideration given this closely followed tune construction and emphasised focus on the tightly represented interplay between orchestral and mathematical groove of its metal, particularly as the album passes by its midsection, and the listener begins to feel the weight of what is a hefty offering of djent inclusive repetition. Though this isn't to the point that it falls back on djent as an elemental mainline, injecting it purposefully without exaggerating its use as it becomes more of a structurally advantageous technique, not a stylistic basis.

In terms of influences, smatterings of Meshuggah, the Heaviness of Devy and some Gojiran grooves will fire to fore at various points throughout the album. Within the vocal arrangements of I and II, the effective cleans served a secondary purpose, and would have been more beneficially used if they were more frequently fitted to the more melodic movements of their respective records, and would aid further in the distinction of Xerath's tunes. While the growls continue to predominate the band's voice here, the cleans receive more of a place, being particularly noteworthy in the opener "I Hold Dominion" and in the latter half of the record such as in "The Chaos Reign," or their under-layered presence in the first of the two part "Veil" sequence, which demonstrates the band's sound at their most symphonically structured.

III is the record of a band further realising their potential, their own unification of symphony and metal here being at its most formatively congealed. Their third time is indeed the charm.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Written on 14.09.2014 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.


Comments: 10   Visited by: 256 users
14.09.2014 - 18:45
Weirdo of MS
Can't wait to listen to it =)
2016 - 2017
2018 - 2019
15.09.2014 - 12:46
Yes, I think I'm gonna like this. I'm curious about it and will listen to it as soon as I can.

This positive review makes me want to listen to it even more. We tend to enjoy some of the same things, so I'll trust you
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.

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15.09.2014 - 15:28
Darkside Momo
Really good stuff. Can't say so far if I enjoy it more than II or not - it lacks some of its intensity, yet it's more varied (for the better)
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15.09.2014 - 15:39
Czerny Reiter
II was heavy, operatic and bombastic in a very good kind of way, here's hoping that the sound here continues along that track. Curious about this one.
16.09.2014 - 04:51
Ag Fox
Angel No More
I loved "II" when it was first released (but it lacked the staying power when I revisited it a few months ago), so I'm looking forward to this, especially after reading your review
loves 小巫
17.09.2014 - 22:03
This sounds pretty badass, a listen i shall give it
13.10.2014 - 11:43
Sweet review, sweet album!
13.10.2014 - 11:46
Written by Wes on 13.10.2014 at 11:43

Sweet review, sweet album!

I'm glad you and others are enjoying this one as much as I am! I think it's their "breakthrough" album, personally. A very fine achievement from the band, I think.
07.12.2014 - 23:01
This album has been excellent. Truly excellent. An overwhelming and well-done marriage of musical styles.

Though, I don't know if I'll listen much more after this first spin. It made its impact on me and was vastly appreciated.

I agree with this phrase that "particularly as the album passes by its midsection, and the listener begins to feel the weight." Yes, and yes. Though it's not necessarily a bad thing. The fact that the band chose this to be long affects the impact of the experience and helps make it what it is.

I don't usually say that; I believe strongly in "leave us wanting more." But here, fewer tracks may or may not have increase replay value any. Just because I don't see myself listening to this much more does not diminish the experience I had this time. A unique conclusion, I realize, yet an honest one.

Wonderful record
"A life all mine
Is what I choose
At the end of my days"
--The Gathering "A Life All Mine" from Souvenirs
02.04.2017 - 10:27
Winter Heathen
Late to the review here, but this Xerath album was incredible. A band that utilizes tight, percussive, rhythmic parts with symphonic elements is worthy of some praise, especially at this level of technicality and exactness.
Power metal incarnate.

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