Premiere: Xenosis – “Army of Darkness”

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If you’ve spent any amount of time around these parts, you know how much I love prog and tech death, inundating you with it every Thursday. It should mean something then when I say Xenosis are one of the strongest modern acts on the scene. Their 2015 album, Sowing the Seeds of Destruction, proved they were a force to be reckoned with, and now the followup is right around the corner. I’m very pleased to bring you the first song from the band’s third album, Devour and Birth.

“Army of Darkness” runs the gamut of everything I like to hear in progressive death metal. It comes out the gates swinging with an off-kilter, stuttering riff that rapidly mutates into a beefier lower-octave version of itself. Flailing tendrils of chromatic guitar wildly sprout from its body as it collapses into a chugging riff propelled by increasingly desperate drums. Suddenly, a calm hits; the time signature stays as strange as before, but the mood changes, and we’re treated to a brilliant progressive melody and guitar solo. It comes to a head with a half-time riff, gradually layering lower harmonies and distortion back on as it comes full circle to its ugly starting point.

Xenosis’ tone and songwriting are decidedly modern, but the mercurial nature of their music feels like something that could have emerged in the 90’s. They play with the refinement of newer bands and the adventurousness of the old guard, creating a truly unique sound in the progressive death metal landscape. Next year is already shaping up to be a banner year for the genre, and Devour and Birth looks like it’s going to be its standard bearer.

Devour and Birth is out January 19th. Preorders go up today via Bandcamp; be sure to check Xenosis out on Facebook as well. If you’re in the Bridgeport, CT area, you can catch them live on December 16th and pick up a copy of the CD a couple weeks early.

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