October 12, 2014

Filthy Music Review - 'Xerath: III'

Xerath - III  (2014)

Candlelight Records 

Review by Trevor Proctor

The great thing about attending festivals is getting to see bands you may not have seen or heard too much of previously – this was the case for me on my first trip to Damnation festival (Leeds, England) in 2011. I had travelled from N Ireland specifically to see Godflesh so any other quality bands and performances caught would be seen as a bonus. 

A friend, Dean McIvor, had checked out Xerath and wanted to catch them live so, pints in hand, we headed to catch them open proceedings on the Jägermeister Stage with their early afternoon slot. First on stage coupled with early afternoon can sometimes equal a small, disinterested crowd but this was far from the case with Xerath who managed to blow away and impress their sizeable crowd, despite the early hour. I enjoyed their set to the extent I headed straight to their stall afterwards to buy whatever albums they had available. 

Since then I’ve kept an eye on their progress and was chuffed to bits at the chance to hear their third album, Xerath III, for review purposes. Formed in 2007 and hailing from Basingstoke, England, Xerath’s music is a melting pot of thrash, death and progressive metal with a significant dose of orchestral and symphonic influences. Xerath’s previous albums have been released via Candlelight Records and this was also the case with Xerath III which came out on the 16th of September. The band currently consists of Michael Putman on drums, Christopher Clark on bass, Richard Thomson on vocals and new addition to the Xerath fold, Conor McGouran on guitar.

The symphonic elements within Xerath’s music have always contributed to their identifiable sound whilst also giving it a dramatic edge. This is the case with opener, “I Hold Dominion” which starts the album in the most magnificent of fashions, sounding like something taken straight from a sci-fi movie or video game it blends high quality, heavy riffage with movie soundtrack grandiosity and a dash of groove. 2053 follows and it’s typical Xerath material; razor sharp guitar work, laced with synth-heavy effects and a riff mid-way that’ll shake the cobwebs from the head. 

There are so many tracks and highlights throughout the lengthy duration of this album it’s impossible to mention them all. Another two standout tracks are Death Defiant and Ironclad; two of the heavier songs from the album and ones that’ll get the head nodding and the feet tapping via Xerath’s catchy, heavy, groove-laden, riff laced and technical music. Closing track, The Veil Pt II, closes the album in the grandest of fashions. It’s an instrumental that’s heavy on the synths/strings and features a number of progressive guitar solos – this is extremely impressive music that showcases Xerath’s broad musical ambition. This is pure sci-fi material and it’s only a matter of time until it’s used within a film score as it brims with both skill and magnificence - a grand close to an ambitious album. It’s worth noting the effects and orchestral elements in Xerath’s music are half string quartet and half synth – another factor that adds to their overall sound.

There’s not many bands releasing albums as long as this and it’s a brave and generous move, an album with fourteen tracks across seventy minutes deserves more than a salute from those seeking both quantity and quality. To have no fillers on an album this length is an amazing feat and many bands would struggle to hold our attention for such a period of time. This is far from the case with Xerath III; mark my words this is Xerath’s finest hour so far and they have delivered an album worthy of achieving them the status and attention they deserve and for which they have worked so hard.



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 – Part 1
14 - Veil - Part 2

Xerath - III was released by Candlelight Records on September 16th, 2014.

No comments: