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Xenesthis - "Sick Of Pitch Black" (Promo CD)

Xenesthis - "Sick Of Pitch Black" Promo CD cover image

"Sick Of Pitch Black" track listing:

1. This Burden
2. Death Will Take Us All
3. Home-Made Oppression

Reviewed by on January 14, 2009

"Musically, the band plays very similar to Killswitch Engage, but faster like their contemporaries such as Divine Heresy."

Austrian metal band Xenesthis, whose name is derived from a type of tarantula spider, released their full-length album “Sick of Pitch-Black” in 2008. The band takes a familiar formula and sound of melodic metalcore in the vein of Killswitch Engage or In Flames and adds a twist by replacing the typical clean vocals with female vocals, which alternate with the screamed vocals or a melodic singing chorus in typical metalcore fashion. Musically the band plays very similar to Killswitch Engage, but faster like their contemporaries such as Divine Heresy. Still, the screamed vocals are often more reminiscent of Killswitch Engage.

The promo sent for review contained only three tracks, which are probably enough to gauge the caliber of the band and their full-length version of “Sick of Pitch-Black.” The opening track, “This Burden” storms out of the gates strong with some nice speed and change-ups. Then the short, choppy metalcore riffs kick in. The clean female vocals and screamed vocals are alternated, as expected, in a tried and true formula that works for just about anyone. “This Burden” is probably the best of the three songs on the promo.

“Death Will Take Us All” starts up with a more melodic intro before increasing the rapidity to a frantic metalcore pace that reminds me of a number of Divine Heresy songs. The chorus is almost solely clean female vocals, which I find detracts from the song overall. “Home-Made Oppression” starts off aggressively enough, but features even more female vocals in addition to the melodic chorus, pushing the song into negative territory for me. Later in the song, the female vocals actually work well, but it is too little too late.

Overall, Xenesthis' clean female vocals did not impress me and the band sounds like little more than another run of the mill metalcore act. Check them out if you are into this style of metalcore, but don't expect much in the way of innovation.

Highs: Fast, fairly aggressive metalcore with some good licks here and there

Lows: Generic melodic metalcore with female vocals that add little to the equation

Bottom line: Check out what Xenesthis has to offer if you're a fan of melodic metalcore.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

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)