Title: Interdimensional Invocations
Release date: 18 October 2019
Country: United States
Format reviewed: High Quality Digital Promo
“We were not meant to know, a place where no man should go”
Since emerging in 2014 from Seattle, Washington, XOTH have continuously convinced with a compelling and unique brand of Tech-Death, offering a plethora of influences from other extreme genres besides that specific label as well. Having shared the stage with big names of the Extreme Metal scene, like NAPALM DEATH and CATTLE DECAPITATION among others, the band has become a force to be reckoned with.
XOTH are Tyler Sturgill on guitar and lead vocals, Ben Benett on bass and supporting vocal duties, as well as Jeremy Salvo on drums and Woody Adler on guitar and further vocal duties. Three years after their debut full-length “Invasion of the Tentacube”, the band now return with their second album “Interdimensional Invocations”, in which they offer a matured and developed sound, again exemplifying a big amount of influences, combined into a compelling and otherworldly package of heavy music!
Having found the band on Bandcamp, I instantly liked the great cover-artwork and I was sure to expect some solid Tech-Death from that alone, but when I got around to listening to the full promo, I was surprised to find the amount of unexpected elements that XOTH brought to the table.
The dual guitars on offer create a diverse range of riffs, going from sharp and technical riffing, like on the opening track “Casting the Sigil”, to more groove-oriented riffs a la REVOCATION that appear prevalently on “Haruspex”. The band excels at tempo changes, changing from heavy, chugging riffs to more technical or shredding fast parts within the blink of an eye. Track two and three bring in an influence I at first was skeptical towards: On the Bandcamp site, I saw the tag “Power Metal”, but as “Mountain Machines”, one of the strongest tracks of the album starts, I clearly understood the influence that XOTH took from a genre that I normally find cringy and unenjoyable. The major-esque, epic and fast riffing-style added a lot to the album, the best way to describe for me is that they extracted the salvageable parts of the Power Metal genre and took them into a more extreme direction, something that I found to be the case most noticeably on track 3, “Back to the Jungle”. The overall sound of the guitars hits the right tone to sound spacey and out of this world, tracks such as “Unseen Abductor” also feature multiple enthralling solos.
The bass has a great extraterrestrial sound to it, offering some speedy undertones throughout the tracks. Occasional bass-solos and other outstanding parts sprinkled into the mix work very well in the album’s context in my opinion. It is generally utilized to great effect, adding more texture to the album, enhancing the recognizable atmosphere created on there. To get a feel of what I mean, be sure to give the bass full attention on “Mountain Machines” and my favorite track, of which I’ll tell you later. The drumming is used in multiple ways, from pummelling blast-beats, those being applied presently at the start and end of the record, to more technical / sometimes groove-oriented parts or progressive patterns that enrich the more proggy guitar-sections.
The shared vocal duties on this album provide a platform for an extremely varied and diverse performance, taking on many influences from numerous genres, similar to the instrumentation. From the first track, the variation on offer is clear: Deep, monstrous growls are often exchanged with hellish, kult Black Metal screams and on some occasions, barked out, raspy shouted vocals (most reminiscent of a drunk Thrash-vocalist) take over. On my personal favorite track “Plague Revival 20XX” the vocal variation is on display: Growls, shouts and screams are regularly interchanged and the climax of the track features demented, shrill screams not heard previously on the album. Overall, the vocals really enrich the already solid groundwork of the instrumentation!
Lyrically, the album presents themes of occultism and forbidden knowledge, scientific abominations, space-travel and cataclysmic events (caused by the previously named motifs perhaps?). These topics intertwine regularly, such as in these excerpts from track 1, 4 & 6, which competently exemplify how the lyrical themes get combined:
Plugged in, shut out, turned off
Reprogrammed to obey
Accept the role as slaves
|Deep inside the cave
Shackled down like slaves
Science and sacrifice
Both combine tonight
Spliced and split until
You’re an empty shell
Passing into death
Tossed out like the rest
|Mourn the life you had
Aeons of torment
No possibility of a cure
Somewhere between a space-journey in search for the creator of humanity, armageddon through Lovecraftian terrors and occult sacrifices mixed with perverse science-experiments, the album’s topics come together to great effect, painting a picture very similar to the depiction on the cover…
XOTH have developed, or better said polished and refined their sound on this, their second album. Fans of Tech-Death, but also of Black Metal… let’s just say Extreme Metal fans in general should give this album a spin or two and witness the cosmic terror rendered through “Interdimensional Invocations”. Competent instrumentation, varied vocals and interesting, diverse lyrics carry through the albums whole runtime and all its elements unfold progressively, never losing me / my interest in the process. Needless to say, I was really convinced by this new outing of XOTH! 8/10 the trve Medvson
8/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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