Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Label: Unique Leader
Location: Perth, Australia
FFO: Shadow of Intent, Aversions Crown, Enterprise Earth
Xenobiotic is a newer face in the metal world with earth shaking sounds and powerful organized concepts. Considering their first record ‘Prometheus’ had good production, I expected nothing less on this new LP, ‘Mordrake’. The whole record is mixed great and sounds huge. Could it be better? Sure. But there is nothing to complain about, especially when smaller bands like this tend to have very poor production. The instrumentals throw in unique elements throughout the record. One of which is the introduction to the album. The bassist carries in the buildup before guitars kick in and give you this offbeat rhythm for a moment. It makes for a smooth transition into the first verse and so on. Outside of the hard hitting music, the vocalist is great as well. The tone of his voice is interesting to listen to, in turn, also adds to the atmosphere of the sound. He also is very good at pronouncing words when screaming, including when he’s speaking very fast. Which is a huge plus for me. You can hear the individual emotions in his voice. When there’s anger, helplessness, ex. It can all be heard clearly.
I love longer metal songs in the 5-7 minute range, and Xenobiotic creates them perfectly. I never heard a repetitive riff or chorus. Pacing was fantastic, making a 5+ minute song such as ‘Light That Burns The Sky’ seem like the average 3 minutes. The instrumentals know what they are doing at all times. Between riffs, buildups, breakdowns, outros, there are very talented musicians behind the ideas going into each part of these songs. Hard work that produces detail in which can’t go unnoticed. A prime example of this is ‘Acedia’. More specifically the entire build up and breakdown of the ending. Then the transition into the instrumental break keeps you entirely engaged, locked into whatever position you’re in. This then beautifully transforms into my personal favorite song on the album ‘Saphris’. Absolutely did not expect the singing. But what a pleasant surprise. Sam Dishington gave me chills and added a new dynamic to the music. This type of transition occurs again during their second instrumental interlude ‘Thalamus’. Shoutout to the drummer for killing that track by the way.
After listening to Mordrake a few times now, it still gives me the same effect as the first listen. I still get chills at certain parts, I still get lost in the atmospheric moments, and I’m certainly still banging my head to the accurately placed breakdowns. In a conversation I had with Xenobiotic, they said “We used the story of Edward Mordrake as a metaphor for someone fighting their internal dark voice, and failing, ending with them embracing the darkness.” That narrative is apparent in each song. Very effectively written as well. Each idea and story they are trying to communicate comes across so intense in both the lyrics and music, you can’t help but find yourself sucked into their world. Even though pain is a popular topic in metal music, Mordrake is filled with unique lyrics and storytelling. You will never find yourself thinking anything here is “cheesy” or “overused”.
Xenobiotic have knocked it out of the park twice now. I’m very excited to see where this band goes, because I know it can only be up. I can see them experimenting with more sounds in the future. They just seem like the type of guys that would push themselves creatively in that way, and I love it. Mordrake is a beast of an album, and Xenobiotic is a beast of a band. Do not sleep on these guys.
Strongest Song: Saphris
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/xenobiotic/323455024