Tech Death Thursday: Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations
This week on Tech Death Thursday, we’ve got ancient aliens, we’ve got pyramid power plants, we’ve got distortions of the time-space continuum, and so much more. Blood Incantation? Don’t know what you’re talking about.
- Not quite tech death but likely of interest to tech death fans, Immanifest has a new album on the way through The Artisan Era and a new single to show for it. This is some mighty fine blackened death metal, and I’m very much looking forward to the full release. Macrobial hits on November 8th.
- Also not quite tech death, Fleshmeadow has a new single out as well and an EP on the way for next week. I was a big fan of their last effort, and this new one sounds equally promising. Look for Daymares on October 11th.
- Big tech boys Symbolik have joined the ever-growing ranks of The Artisan Era. No new music as of yet, but you should definitely check out their older material. You’ll be able to catch them on tour in the US with Inanimate Existance and Krosis from November 14th to December 21st (dates here).
Cthulhu? Overdone. Azagthoth? Old news. And what the hell even is a Nyarlathotep? Forget all these lame elder gods. Join the cult of Xoth.
I’ll admit I’m new to the fold—I’m only vaguely familiar with the band’s older works—but they’ve made me a believer with Interdimensional Invocations. They play a fairly unique style of technical music, a sort of Death meets Bal-Sagoth affair, and this newest effort sees them moving in a more thrash-oriented direction. My first thought upon hearing “Casting the Sigil” is that they would make for a solid substitute to Vektor, but after multiple listens of this record, it’s clear that they’re much more than that.
The mastery of technique one expects from a tech death band is on full display here, but Xoth’s ability to use that technique in a way that’s both compelling and memorable is almost unparalleled. The song that stood out the most to me in this regard was “Plague Revival 20XX,” whose primary motif features a tapped trilling arpeggio within an adventurous melody. It’s an impressive display of exploratory fretwork to be sure, but despite this, it’s the melody that your ear will be drawn to. The aforementioned song is only one example of this; the melding of technical prowess and smart songwriting is a constant on the album.
And speaking of melodies, a lot of what you’ll hear on Interdimensional Invocations is pretty unconventional in the realm of tech-flavored music. Trace elements of their older more blackened sound are still present, and there’s the obvious prevailing thrash feeling, but it’s a lot more upbeat than what you tend to hear in extreme metal. Even the darkest, heaviest parts of the album have a Voivod-ish playfulness to them that, when filtered through a tech death lens, puts them in the same space as Beast of Nod and older Revocation. It’s maybe not quite as big of a factor on this album as their previous material, but there are still some rollicking, almost folk metal kind of riffs in spots that really set them apart from the pack (“Mountain Machines” wouldn’t sound out of place on an Ensiferum record). I’m a big proponent of having overtly “fun” parts in extreme metal, and these guys seem to adhere to that principle as well.
While all the instruments are fantastic, the lead guitar work here is just incredible. That memorable use of technique present in the riffs extends into the solos as well; they’re flashy and exciting, and moreover, they’re captivating. The slower, simpler parts are touched up with tremolo bar tricks and a deadly vibrato, and the shreddier parts are less like an exercise in getting from one point on the neck to another than they are small parts of each song’s story. I got excited each time a solo came up, and they make for some of the highlights of the album.
Only time will tell if Interdimensional Invocations makes its way into the hallowed halls of the tech death pantheon, but I can confidently say that this will likely be viewed as a classic. It’s already one of my favorite albums of the year, tech or otherwise, and it has all the elements that give an album longevity. Xoth is a powerhouse, and I encourage everyone to give this album a shot when it lands. Look for it on October 18th, and be sure to give Xoth some love on Facebook. That’s all I’ve got for you now, so until next time,