Xenosis – Sowing the Seeds of Destruction (Self-released)

Thursday, 3rd September 2015
Rating: 9/10

Active since 2010, New Haven, Connecticut’s Xenosis are a progressive death metal quintet that place an equal amount of emphasis on hooks and melodic aspects as they do impressive musicianship for their second full-length Sowing the Seeds of Destruction. What this means for the listener is the songwriting has a special flow and continuity, proving that the style does not have to be overtly technical without some form of catchiness from time to time.

Guitarists Mark Lyon and Ernie DelVecchio fill the riff landscape adventurously, layering a lot of their parts in expert and addictive mannerisms to pull out the biggest dynamic sweeps be it fast or slow – “Czernobog Part 1” containing a lot more of the catchy, melodic aspects that made latter day Death so intriguing, while “Czernobog Part 2” goes for a little bit more of the off-tempo, progressive groove tightness that people into Gojira or older Opeth scream for. Bassist David Legenhausen and drummer Gary Marotta establish early on through the opening cat and mouse chase sequence for “Rebuild, Renew” that they are a rhythm section force of the highest caliber – another ace in the armory for their total heavy assault to the senses.

As a vocalist Jeff Haddad has the challenging task of finding the right places to deliver his growls and screams while keeping the proceedings as discernible as possible – and he delivers on both fronts, reminding me a lot of Kelly Shafer from Atheist or possibly Ihsahn of Emperor during the speedier “Red Waves” or my personal favorite, the six minute plus roller coaster “Turn Over Thy Crown”. Xenosis use respectful amounts of blast beats without overkill – and the lead work possesses intricacy and melodic restraint, so all the working parts are cohesive to maximize songwriting retention.

Proper production skills, killer tones, and a captivating front cover round off this exemplary package for the band. Xenosis much like the previous talked about End-Time Illusion are a band who will go places beyond their home state into the international landscape – as their brand of progressive death metal keep the listener on their toes in subtle, atmospheric ways.

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