Xoth take a very laborious, metallic sound and make it seem effortless and catchy as hell – Exogalactic is otherworldly and powerful

Release date: November 3, 2023 | Independent | Facebook | Instagram | Bandcamp

Xoth have been around for a while dishing out amalgamative metal like it’s their job – probably because it is. I’ve been around since 2019’s Interdimensional Invocations, an album I swore I reviewed, but I must have invoked that memory myself like my own personal Mandela Effect. Regardless, it was an extraordinarily fun time – quick, filling, and spicy in spots. It was with great excitement I awaited to see what the Seattle band had in store for us and with four (4) years behind them since their last LP, Exogalactic had a lot of time to charge their laser beams.

When I say this is exactly, precisely my kind of shit, I mean it. Fast, riffy as hell, and just cheesy enough to be endearing without compromise – it all amounts to a fun time for me, the most I can have in extreme music, even if I’ve grown sooooo tired of the Lovecraft schtick (metallers, please read another dark fantasy book, I’m fucking begging y’all). Their Bandcamp page tags namecheck four different subgenres – death, black, power, and thrash – and they make good on all of them, Whether in the moment-to-moment twisting execution of a single song, or generalizing the soul of a whole single song against others, Xoth are profoundly crisp and agile with how they just perform metal-ass metal.

“Reptilian Bloodsport” is a hell of an opener. Only five minutes long and some change, and it feels like an epic story that could have been stretched out to its own album. I love the lyrics and delivery of them; they tell of humans captured by a reptilian race and made to fight to the death in gladiatorial matches for the amusement of these scaled sadists. The imagery is top notch, especially in the chorus which is growled over guitars that squeal higher and higher with each line.

‘Aeons pass they play with man
Human pawns in scaled hands
Shedding life as they shed their skin
Slitted eyes shall draw you in
From a planet far away
You were bought, sold as slave
To become champion
Die your death in the pantheon’

The best part is that same energy is kept throughout the rest of Exogalactic. I’ll be the first to tell you if and when an album loses steam, and it feels like more and more lately bands and artists are struggling to keep their craft consistent for an entire album – not an issue here. “Manuscripts of Madness” is a relatively standard Eldritch horror tale elevated by Xoth‘s supreme lyricism and delivery just like the first song. As a lead single, it’s another taste of the corrupted metal they wield, but doesn’t give away all of the band’s secrets in one go. It’s also a bit more deathed-up than other tracks on this album with touches of a band like Revocation (who I also love) able to be heard. “Sporecraft Zero”, another single, really channels a spacey thrash rabble with guitar leads that whip around like a lizard tail. The hook once again soars way high about anything else in the track, capitalizing on that catchiness factor and bewitching you with sheer melody.

The deep cuts are where Exogalactic shines bright and vibrant like a pulsar. “The Parasitic Orchestra” sounds like a 2x speed Carcass song with some of its riffs and progressions, and the solo toward the end is exquisite, really precise and surgical. This is a good time to bring up the mixing on the album which ensures you hear every single note and inflection even if your method of listening was considered low tier when it was made and released decades ago like mine is. Songs like “Saga of the Blade” just tear right through conventions like that with weighty bass, pounding drums, and a story that sounds like a futuristic 20xx take on Iron Maiden‘s “Flash of the Blade”. I absolutely love the guitar bridge at the end of the song; it’s literally hair-raising, crafted with such care and melodic slant.

Really, and I mean all of the following as the utmost compliment as a nerd, Xoth carry themselves with the same restraint as video game music composers did in the ’80s and ’90s, and that is to say pretty much no restraint. At all. They were tearing up shit with very limiting tech, crafting melodies that ’90s kids like me still remember to this day, exhaustively pushing their ‘instruments’ to the max just so you hear something awesome while shooting robots, doing cool wizard shit, or saving humanity with a tiny ship. Xoth capture the same sort of elation and while only time will tell just how long their songs stay in the underground metal lexicon, let this review be a testament that they deserve to be heard by all who greatly value riffs, stellar progression, and an almost rap-like lyrical metering/rhythms that complements the hell out of the instrumentation.

Xoth have always been on fire for me, but Exogalactic sees them straight up approaching supernova status. It’s a concise ripper of an album, not a moment wasted, not a dull element about it. It manages to keep the fun going for 39 minutes and eight tracks, and their sense of genre blending only gets more natural and seamless. You can tell the band really took the last four years to hone their craft and jettison the best material out from their space cruiser only for it to crater onto our humble planet like the massive, meteoric thing it is. I hope you fuckers didn’t solidify your AOTY lists yet like a me-first herb because this is a late entrant that should be considered by those with room. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a sudden and unexplainable hunger for calamari.

Band photo by Nate Phelps

David Rodriguez

David Rodriguez

"I came up and so could you, and fuck the boys in blue" - RMR

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