The opening song, Intrenity on the British symphonic death/groove metal bands first album has a creeping build of orchestral noise that slams into a wall of noise. It’s a symphonic assault that sounds disjointed but is incredibly satisfying.
Alterra intense & brutal opening is quickly interrupted by an orchestral section that initially feels unnecessary but ends up leading into a wonderful combination of guttural vocals & roars, heavy as sin drumming & impressive riffing.
The heaviness that drifts into a symphonic section is present again in Nocturnam & leads into a combined effort of both sounds that doesn’t have the same impact as the last song. A piano/operatic touch in the final parts of the song is an interesting change of pace but leaves the song lacking a clear identity.
Consequences speedy drumming/guitar intro is a welcome change shortly backed by some killer death metal vocals. Its pace is one to admire & the mid-song change of direction really adds depth to the overall song. It’s meaty, almost NOLA-esqe fade out is excellent.
Interlude is all symphonies for its barely 2 minute run offering a unique soft touch that drifts into False History, a number that kicks down the doors with its instant heaviness. The guitar riffs here are amazingly well-crafted, giving off a chugging style vibe but at a faster pace. The nice surprise of a short guitar solo followed by a nerve-shredding, head-banging ending is outstanding stuff.
A chance to get your breath back arrives in the slower Abiogenesis which goes for a darker sound with plenty of malice. It’s a brooding song that paints a picture of near-dark woods with all manner of beasties living inside. Around the 2 minute 30 mark everything is knocked up a gear returning to a more recognisable & aggressive beat but still utilizing the symphonic melody from the beginning. Incredibly epic…
Reform Part I seems a bit familiar at first, not really standing out from the rest of the album. Those fears are put to rest once the vocals kick in & everything mixes together so well. A short number that really highlights the strength in the singer’s vocal abilities. A surprising clean vocal section sees the song out but it feels out of place.
Reform Part II’ is a much more pissed off sounding song that seems determined to smash a hole in something at first. A brief guitar solo that sounds like it could have come of a Van Halen record is a sudden surprise but sounds great. It’s a box-ticking song with death metal, groove & symphony all on show.
The last song on an great album, Right to Exist has the words ‘huge’ and ‘epic’ written across it from the get go. It’s a suitable ending that has plenty of punch but lacks the same kind of groove & rhythm found in earlier songs.
Xerath - I (Candlelight Records)