Xoth – Invasion Of The Tentacube (2016)

Seattle’s Xoth are considered a mixture of death/black over at Metal Archives, but those guys forget to mention the whole technical part, which is a large portion of this band now. Maybe on their ’14 EP Hostile Terraforming the band wasn’t all that technical, but with this debut album that has certainly changed. The band sounds quite a bit like Vektor with hints of Absu and most certainly a little of Skeletonwitch as well, which I actually noticed myself after just a few minutes. The recording here has quite a drum presence that might actually be a slight hindrance for it as Jeremy Salvo’s kit can sometimes drown out the rest of these guys. That doesn’t help the fact that Woody Adler and Tyler Spurgis’s vocal tracks are sometimes lower than they need to be in areas, even though I just find their work something of “the vocal instrument” whereas their guitar playing is the main course of this act. While they definitely play tremolos, the most interesting thing about this act from a melodic edge is how much the leads sort of snake around everything else. A couple of solos are also featured, one might say there’s a bit of noodling to be offered, but as I’ve always been a fan of strong composition, I’m certainly not going to look ill on an act that is doing a bit more with their guitars than a great deal of bands these days. After all, I always thought that the point of playing new guitar-based music was to write riffs and styles that haven’t already been featured. It’s safe to say that almost everything in this genre is now a slight variation on something else, but that doesn’t mean that these variations aren’t credible, which is what Xoth offer at a base level.

Again, I feel that the double-bass blasts that Salvo uses on this album can interfere with some of the riffs in it, it’s very hard to explain here and chances are that he doesn’t notice it. The only remedy for that would be to get another kit entirely and these gentlemen don’t have that kind of money, I’m sure. In retrospect, it’s not all that big of a deal as the guitar compositions still shine throughout pretty well and again, that’s the bulk of this release. You’re talking about a band that could do well as an instrumental act, but seems to feature a pretty stable vocal effort which reminds me of early Quo Vadis. I think if these guys went back and heard Day Into Night, they would be surprised how much they’d unknowingly taken from it. That being said, Invasion Of The Tentacube is a wonderful album that seems to have as much influence from Voivod as it would Quo Vadis, Vektor and several others. These guys are even on the same level as Vektor as far as I’m concerned, so if you’re miffed about the Vektor split, then you can check this one out to easily fill the hole. It might be rough around the edges, but is still worth checking out.

(9 Tracks, 42:00)




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