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Xerath - "III" (CD)

Xerath - "III" CD cover image

"III" track listing:

1. I Hold Dominion
2. 2053
3. I Hunt For the Weak
4. Autonomous
5. Bleed this Body Clean
6. Death Defiant
7. Sentinels
8. Passenger
9. Ironclad
10. Demigod Doctrine
11. The Chaos Reign
12. Witness
13. Veil Pt. 1
14. Veil Pt. 2

Reviewed by on September 9, 2014

"'III' will be the band's breakout release, propelling it into the upper echelon of extreme metal. Heed my words: get it on the action now so you can be snobby about how you dug the band before everybody else knew about it."

It would appear the third time's the charm, as Xerath is a name that's about to become very well known in the metal scene with the release of “III.” This is a release that will unquestionably be hitting a lot of year-end lists, cranking absolutely everything straight to 11: the instrumentation, the epic factor, and yes, the volume. Forget about genre lines too, because Xerath gleefully hops over them without a second thought.

“III” has just about everything: shredding solos, dark symphonic elements that bring to mind Septicflesh, weirdly uplifting segments in the vein of Devin Townsend, clean vocals, guttural vocals, groovy guitar work, a hint of deathcore, and the list just goes on. Fans of the two previously mentioned bands will find these tracks to be very compelling, as the album really could be considered a mash-up of those outfits.

“Hold Dominion,” in particular, is like a heavier version of something off Devin's “Epicloud” album, and there's a very Hevy Devy vibe in the meandering styles and harsh vocals over funky and melodic instruments combined with a smattering of clean singing. On the Septicflesh comparison, there's constantly an epic symphonic bent to the album. Check out the beginning to “Bleed This Body Clean” and tell me that wouldn't have fit right in on “The Great Mass.” Even when there's not a symphonic component, “III” is consistently grandiose and booming, whether the album is expressing its dark or light side.

At 14 tracks in the four to seven minute range for a total of more than an hour of music, there's a ton of material to work through on “III,” and lots of room for different musical ideas to come up. The album covers a ton of ground musically, from the violin-focused “The Veil Part 2” on to the '80s synths of “Passenger.”

Although not a totally unknown band, Xerath was hasn't been as prominent as those headlining grabbing groups that dominate the scene – until now. “III” will be the band's breakout release, propelling it into the upper echelon of extreme metal. Heed my words: get it on the action now so you can be snobby about how you dug the band before everybody else knew about it.

Highs: The album is consistently intense and attention-grabbing, fusing light and dark together while going all the way across the genre spectrum.

Lows: At an hour and 10 minutes, the album may be too long for its own good, and some of the harsh vocals get a bit repetitive by the end.

Bottom line: Xerath hits it's stride, combining all the epic elements of Devin Towsnend with Septicflesh.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)