Meshuggah meets Lord Of The Rings, a groovy Strapping Young Lad or Dimmu Borgir on an industrial trip. Just some words to describe the lovely noise from Basingstoke’s finest, Xerath. They describe their music as “filmscore metal” or “chug-score”. Both are right on the money, but I prefer the latter because it has something poetical to it. Anyway, enough banter from my part, let’s move on to what their debut album, I, has to offer.
Most songs on I are fairly short but there is enough going on in the musical department. Thick Meshuggah inspired dissonant riffing goes hand in hand with catchy grooves and dense ambient styled keyboard layers reminiscent of Dimmu Borgir. That’s what goes down in compositions like Intrenity, Alterra, Nocturnum and False History.
The album also features faster songs in the form of Consequences and Reform Part II. They invoke the spirit of the late Strapping Young Lad with a small hint of vintage Fear Factory. Abiogenesis and Right To Exist are more in line with the aforementioned mid-tempo “Meshuggah meets Lord Of Rings” style.
Despite the freshness, originality and tight musicianship, the sheer abundance of film score elements makes I an exhausting listening experience. The vast majority of the songs are mid-tempo, so more faster songs wouldn’t hurt. It would also improve the album’s dynamics.
Production wise there is nothing to complain. The rich and clear sound enhances the overwhelming feeling of I.
Despite its shortcomings it’s still quite a daunting debut album. If Xerath manage to find a better balance between the metal parts and the film score elements I’m sure the next album will be a real killer.
written by Raymond Westland