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Album Reviews : Xerath – I

By on August 2, 2009

xerath-iXerath are a young band from Great Britain who are garnering glowing reviews in their home country after winning the unsigned band competition of Terrorizer magazine in 2008 and subsequently signing to Candlelight Records who have released their debut album, simply titled “I”.

Whilst they label themselves as symphonic metal it is certainly a far cry from the bands usually associated with such a tag, such as Nightwish, in fact they have more in common with Fear Factory or Meshuggah as there is a particularly modern and clinical sheen to their metal.

The music on “I” is dominated by layers of orchestral keyboards that add textures to the tight, rhythmic guitar work that at times can be reminiscent of the aforementioned bands though they are certainly not afraid to lock into a primal groove either which balances things nicely.

The addition of orchestration is certainly not a new concept by any means however it is clear that a great deal of thought has gone into the symphonic elements on “I”. They are more than just filler, playing an integral role in the music, and it results in an album that combines pounding metal with the orchestral sounds of a dark movie soundtrack that would put Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth to shame.

Xerath have also introduced other subtleties to flesh out the music such as acoustic guitars, female vocals and choirs but ultimately it is the bombastic wall of sound that is the basis of the bands identity and the entire forty minutes of “I” is a testament to their vision and focus.

The most impressive thing about “I” is that it is a product of such a young band and, regardless of whether this is to your tastes or not, there is no denying that this is an impressive starting point that is of a high standard comparable with more established artists.

I must admit that I didn’t rate “I” that highly on my initial listen, perhaps there was just too much going on to comprehend it on the first spin, but further airings have changed that outlook completely and it really is a CD that takes time to reveal itself fully.

The intro to their website states that Xerath wish “to remain on the cutting edge of symphonic metal” and it will be interesting to see where the band goes from here to achieve this aim. In the meantime “I” can be seen as a quality debut release that shows plenty of potential and is well worth investigating for those who like their metal with a futuristic edge. 7/10

Band: Xerath
: I
: 2009
: Symphonic Metal
: Candlelight
: Great Britain

Track Listing:
1. Intrenity
2. Alterra
3. Nocturnum
4. Consequences
5. Interlude
6. False History
7. Abiogenesis
8. Reform Part I
9. Reform Part II
10. Right To Exist

Reviewed by Peter Schulz