You folks in the mood for some technically-proficient, riff-revering progressive metal this fine Tuesday?
I sure hope so, because that’s just what we’ve got at the end of this post, in the form of an exclusive album stream from United Kingdom-based band Xerath.
Xerath’s album, III, is now available for purchase through Candlelight Records.
The Jacob Hansen-mixed effort won’t take very long to get the air guitarist in you jamming like you were Devin Townsend.
The band’s Michael Pittman says Dev was “most certainly” an influence.
“Though I think I need to put a ‘but’ on this answer. The new record is getting a few Devin Townsend comparisons, which to us is a compliment of the highest order. However, was he a conscience effort on the making of this new album? No. Inevitably your influences creep into your own writing style but we honestly approached things with clean ears and tried not to be derivative of anyone as much as possible. We really want to try and carve our own little space in the genre slate and to do this, you have to sit down with whatever you’re writing on and dispose of riffs and licks that you feel you have lifted from another band and that’s exactly the process we followed. We don’t want to be anyone else, we want to be us if you’ll excuse the pretentiousness of that statement!”
I asked Pittman what themes the band explored on the new one.
“We tried to get a number of different themes in on this album, its a real mixed bag. We’ve always been fascinated about the changing landscape of warfare in particular. On this album we looked into how drone and automated warfare is more common now and what impacts this could have on things in the future. We’ve thrown the net over all kinds of subjects, consciousness, death, life, you name it, we tried it on this album. As a band we don’t have any one singular statement we like to make and we don’t preach anything as that’s just horse shit, what we try and do is paint a picture, a fictional picture that fits well with the feel of a particular song.”
The album clocks in at nearly 70 minutes, and provides pinpoint riffs and expansive, catchy melodies in equal measure.
III also boasts a string quartet as Xerath continues to expand its sonic complexity.
The album also marks the addition of Irish guitarist Conor McGouran (replacing exiting Owen Williams).
Pittman said that “Conor was instrumental in making this album what it is, it wouldn’t have been possible without him. To tell you the truth myself and Rich did have the bulk of the writing for the album wrapped up by the time Conor joined but really Conor’s primary role in the limited time he had been with us at this point was to write the guitar solo’s and record the rhythm guitar parts we had written previously, tweaking them and improving them in the process.”
“In the band, although it sounds a little like we’re jumping on our high horse, we like to have musicians in the band. Not just people who play their instrument well but people who have a sense of composition also. Conor took charge of making the guitar parts for the whole album the right ones to go on the final record and he has uncompromisingly high standards, so if something wasn’t working, he would change it and we would know he would be right and wouldn’t argue.”
So, what’s in store for Xerath number four?
“We’ve got a few ideas here and there but it would be a lie to say that the band have thought that far ahead just yet. Who knows, the I, II, III thing might just go out the window as we viewed our first three albums as a trilogy and a chance to get on our feet and get our name out there. We are under no self imposed rules to carry on the themes we’ve used in terms of artwork, lyrics and the music itself. We can really do what ever we want but I think in terms of album four, that will be a case of the band sitting down and asking each other how we can raise the bar further and how we can surprise people as that is our ultimate goal. That and for me personally to achieve enough success through the band that I can afford to give Rich gender reassignment surgery whilst he’s asleep.”
Check out the new record below, and see what everyone else is talking about. Xerath’s III follows, and man, is it ear candy if ever there was.