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II

Xerath

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Xerath II album cover
3.25 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews | 40% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Unite to Defy (5:24)
2. God of the Frontlines (4:38)
3. Reform Part III (4:37)
4. The Call to Arms (5:52)
5. Machine Insurgency (4:56)
6. Sworn to Sacrifice (4:44)
7. Enemy Incited Armageddon (7:25)
8. Nuclear Self Eradication (5:29)
9. Numbered Among the Dead (4:36)
10. The Glorious Death (8:35)

Total Time 56:22

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Richard Thomson / Vocals
- Michael Pitman / Drums
- Christopher Clark / Bass
- Owain Williams / Guitar

Thanks to Phenomenoumenon for the addition
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Buy XERATH II Music


IIII
Candlelight 2011
Audio CD$1.98
$1.25 (used)
II
Candlelight 2009
Audio CD$10.67
$4.10 (used)
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XERATH II ratings distribution


3.25
(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
40%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
50%
Good, but non-essential (0%)
0%
Collectors/fans only (10%)
10%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

XERATH II reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars England's Xerath really hit a home run with their debut full-length, I, back in 2009. The band's unique blend of groove metal and symphonic orchestrations immediately gained them recognition from metal fans worldwide - myself included. Two years later, and Xerath have returned with the equally imaginatively-titled II. While still staying true to their core sound, the band sounds even more mature and experienced this time around, making II the best release Xerath has put together to date. Anyone who enjoys groove metal, symphonic keyboards, and progressive overtones definitely owes it to themselves to check out yet another fantastic effort from Xerath.

Like their debut album, the music on II is very much like Swedish veterans Meshuggah, but with orchestrations and a slightly more melodic approach. If you're an extreme metal purist, don't let the symphonic keyboards scare you away - they are extremely well-done and never detract from the other instrumentation, but instead add a haunting element to Xerath's music. Aside from the orchestral elements, the music here is a heavy and technical mix of thrash metal, death metal, and groove metal; mostly played in a downtuned, "djent" style. Although music this heavy and technical could get monotonous, II is an exceptionally well-written album and every composition is memorable, given enough time to sink in. This does take a few spins to fully grasp, but once you give it the time it deserves, II reveals itself as a terrific album.

The production and musicianship here are both absolutely wonderful. I remember back when I came out that I was very impressed by the technical capabilities of Xerath, and it seems that they've improved even more since then. I especially have to mention guitarist Owain Williams and drummer Michael Pitman when discussing the musicianship here - both of these guys are especially spectacular musicians, and an absolute blast to listen to. As previously mentioned, the production is great and provides a slick, powerful, and polished sound that suits the music perfectly.

In case you haven't checked out Xerath yet, II is probably their best release to date. This album shows a band oozing with creativity, inspiration, and plenty of damn good extreme metal to offer. II should reveal itself as one of the year's best metal albums - it really is that good. Anyone who enjoys crushingly heavy groove metal with a sense of melody and taste for orchestrations should definitely further investigate this great album. 4 stars are well-deserved.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#481289) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'II' - Xerath (4/10)

Xerath is a band from the UK that got some people excited with their debut. In 2009, the roman-numerically designated 'I' impressed many who listened with its powerhouse take on progressive metal, falling somewhat into what some call the 'djent' sound in metal, but also bringing some new sounds to the table, most notably some orchestral sounds. Technically impressive progressive metal with symphonic undertones is a fascinating formula in concept, and with their follow-up album 'II', Xerath continues to explore this sound. True enough to the acclaim I've been hearing about the band, they certainly know how to bring their skill as musicians to the table. All the same however, I am finding that this band's so-called 'distinctive' elements pass me as being little more than gimmicks, although by all intents, this is a decent contribution to the djent music community.

What one is bound to hear on a song from this album will generally consist of heavy, palm- muted guitar riffs that sound quite a bit like Meshuggah, as well as some screamed vocals and a heavy synth presence. For those uninformed about the djent sound, it is essentially a group of bands that dabble in the strange rhythms and palm-muted guitar techniques that Meshuggah largely pioneered, and as far as emulating Meshuggah's deep grooves go, Xerath succeeds. These are technical riffs that have 'progressive metal' spelled all over them, although despite the technical achievement of these guitar parts, there is very little melodic structure to them, and they start feeling all the same by the time the album is over. While Xerath executes their sound beautifully, the inherent lack of melody or surprise in this music led me feeling the unwanted sense of deja vu long before the album was over, and it makes the album's fifty-odd minute length feel much longer than it actually is.

The thing that many have been really swooning over with this band are the so-called orchestral elements. Xerath self-proclaims themselves to be 'orchestral groove metal', and while they do have the effective repetition and groove aspect down, the orchestral element here was what really disappointed me. Instead of a full blown symphonic arrangement or even fleshed string section as the term 'orchestral' implies, I was confronted by fairly cheap- sounding emulations, most likely either done on a computer, or with a synth. It's quite understandable that a working band is not often able to afford an orchestra, but things could have still worked out brilliantly if the arrangements here were anything that truly lived up to an orchestral standard. Instead, there is no symphonic element that gets me even close to thinking I'm hearing an orchestral score, usually, the orchestra is merely adding a deeper sound miles behind the metal aspect of Xerath, sustaining a note and then changing with the chords. The symphonic presence here does add a new depth to the band's sound, but overall, it feels more like a half-successful gimmick to distinguish themselves, rather than a valid artistic accomplishment.

Xerath's 'II' is a well-performed album, but there is nothing to the music that ever really excites me; the djenty tones and proggy metal riffs are all things that have been done much better by other acts doing a similar thing, and while Xerath should be acknowledged for trying to bring something new to the sound, the orchestral thing isn't doing much for them.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#507010) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 21, 2011

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