“The most polarising metal band since Limp Bizkit” are back at it again: metalcore’s favourite …
Tech-death doom-worshippers Xenobiotic bring desolate resonance and existential terror on their upcoming album Mordrake, due out 21st February.
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With vice-grip surety and death-roll lethality, the Perth boys have delivered a harrowing metal opus.
Complex finger-work, clamouring atonal guitars and unearthly drum fills build horrendous barrages of noise which give way to charging death-pit riffs, and ugly vocal turns–all acerbic screams and cavernous roars–glower and rage through the tracks with ferocious consistency; melody is meted out only as necessary to let a crack of light through, like a last glimpse of daylight before being buried forever.
The post-black neo-demonic vocal qualities and lurching down-tuned death-marches signal labelmates Humanity’s Last Breath and slam with a similar gravity. Technical riffs burn with urgency instead of being weighed down by the difficulty of the music, and the result is frantic, hyper-technical metal spat through a deathly, fetid maw.
Xenobiotic are swinging hard at Australia’s death metal crown and with Mordrake they have as good a shot as they’ve ever had before.
Standout track Acedia thumps with an obsidian-black heart, punching on with an adrenalised rhythm and some truly disgusting, chest-cavity-rattling death-drone fills. Other songs stutter with jittery, string-wrecking riffs; the atonal, off-kilter baseline of the album is frequently elevated by soaring leads and brilliantly layered polyrhythmic designs. Closer Mordrake II Acquiesce bleeds with unclean mathcore blood that recalls the skittish riffing of Drowningman and the antisocial musicality of Starkweather before it dies as a savage death-metal overture. There is a classy sense of restraint among all the overbearing heaviness; a sense that the band could go further but they choose to pare back, and the roiling hyper-technicality often gives way to more textured moments.
There are atmospheric phrases littered throughout, as well as inert chillout phrases and wild experimental mid-tracks to keep things wonky, and the hopelessness at the heart of the album’s narrative takes on a character of its own. Sadness, rather than just putrid anger, is what keeps this music sympathetic and unique.
Emerging on Unique Leader records who have already brought us some truly mental metal, Xenobiotic are swinging hard at Australia’s death metal crown and with Mordrake they have as good a shot as they’ve ever had before. Mordrake is a violent, hopeless album and Xenobiotic have marked their arrival as a brutal world-class death metal band.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Light That Burns The Sky, Inverted, Acedia, Saphris
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Humanity’s Last Breath, Archspire, Rings Of Saturn