Extinction Necromance is a release which wholly captivates whilst hitting the listener with a tsunami of malevolent sound and intent. Consisting of four tracks covering thirty minutes, the EP is a barbarous affair which at times defuses or certainly overshadows the invention and diverse textures within its depths through a continual tirade of vocal and emotional hostility. There is no hiding place from the encounter either, except the off button, but its creators Canadian metallers XUL, ensure that is never an option with their craft and fascinating enterprise.
XUL hails from Vernon, British Columbia and cast a merciless trespass of blackened death metal upon the senses. Influences to their intent include the likes of Behemoth, Dissection, Immortal, Emperor, and Watain, strong flavours noticeable in the band’s sound but without leaping miles away from such inspirations XUL has woven the spices into a sonic narrative built on the sole character of their imagination. Formed in 2008, the quintet released debut album Malignance four years later, a well-received encounter stirring up Canadian extreme metal especially across the Western side of the scene country, a recognition reinforced forcibly by the band’s live presence which has seen them share stages with the likes of Obscura, Exhumed, Vreid, Kampfar, Woods of Ypres, Macabre, Withered, Cephalic Carnage, Archspire, and 3 Inches of Blood. New EP Extinction Necromance sees the band explore their darkest depths and most malevolent emotions, filtering all into intensive examinations of ears and psyche.
It begins with Frozen, We Drown, an immediate consumption of the senses through prowling riffs and grooves punctuated by lurking rhythms. There is also an underlying swing to the opening baiting of ears, a trait which is regular bait whether in a gentle melodic persuasion, a rugged rampage, or an unbridled savaging. There is also thrash bred virulence at the start which with the rabid sonic intensity subsequently evolves into a melodically scenic landscape of constantly developing climates and unpredictable intent. The track continues to shift and switch its attack and sound, merging murderous sonic and rhythmic affairs with almost seductive hugs of calm and evocative suggestiveness. XUL’s sound, as each song upon the EP, is not suitable for a lightweight consumption. It is with continual examination that the busy terrains and almost insidious nature of the aural tapestries unravel for increasingly dramatic and impressive proposals. That is not to say it is not a potent first introduction made, just a matter of almost too much to digest and get a handle on initially.
It does ensure every listen is a slightly different and fresh adventure too, epitomised by the following Orbit of Nemesis. It rises from the release with a heralding fanfare of horns and celestial harmonies, the epic air suggested in the orchestral hints of its predecessor in full regalia here. Like a majestic bird soaring into an expansive and thickly coloured atmosphere the track sparks the imagination but like the same being swallowed by the jaws of a violent storm, the expressive opening of the track is devoured by a bestial sonic explosion. The band surges over the senses from within that assault; volleys of violent beats from Lowell Winters the spearhead of a hellacious onslaught brought by the bass predation of Marlow Deiter and rabid guitar causticity from Wallace Huffman and Bill Ferguson. With the raw primal tones of vocalist Levi Meyers leaving their own inhospitable residues in ears too, it is a gripping fury taken to greater heights by the toxic but sonically invigorating grooves and shards of melodic imagination spilled by the fingers of Huffman.
As the first track, though maybe not as openly tangible, there is an evolving aspect to the raging and another swing to its vicious stroll, an ingredient which marks each song in varying ways and degrees as shown by third song Chaos Requiem. Rolling in on a ‘gentler’ gait and intent than its excellent predecessor, the song is soon sledgehammering the senses as guitars weave a tempting lure of melodic intrigue and expression. The turmoil is exhausting, ensuring that the brief respites when they emerge feel like oases in the merciless storm. It is increasingly gripping and an intensive incitement which as mentioned needs time to fully explore but more than rewards the effort.
Final track Summon the Swarm coaxes with the calm of water and a reflective melody before unleashing sonic and rhythmic carnage, but a tempest openly and precisely sculpted by each element of the band. It also delivers a thick anthemic lure alongside its punishing tirade of sound and voice, the track at times as intoxicating as it is corrosive as it frees a maelstrom of emotion and musical drama, especially in the closing ravishing of ears.
The more time Extinction Necromance is given the more it impresses, an undeniable success which marks XUL out as a band to watch closely as they surely start luring in a more global attention, starting right here. It might not quite be the best blackened death metal protagonist you will meet this year but it will be the one of those enticing the most repeats plays.
Extinction Necromance is available from May 19th @ https://xulmetal.bandcamp.com/album/extinction-necromance
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