Xehanort can be described as a progressive deathcore project that immediately piqued my interest more, which is surprisingly seeing as I find myself bored with many works of the genre. Very few bands are able to fully utilize the genre's potential. Well placed breakdowns and atmospheric elements combined with an interesting concept immediately grab myself and hopefully others that listen to this work.
The opener, "Entry I: The Unknown", gives the listener a sense of haunting and, even more so, unknowing, before many of the key elements even make themselves present. Most deathcore bands just throw you into the midst of all the so called "chaos" that ensues, but Xehanort tackles this beast with atmospheric destruction that eventually melds and evolves into the later entries.
"Entry II: The Colossus" throws in some more charm and variety with the insertion of clean vocals that add a sort of "spiritual essence" on top of the crushing riffs and bone-breaking harsh vocals (this essence is explained later on). Add in the simplistic yet gut-punching drum work at the end of the track and you now have an encapsulating concept that will prove to be very memorable.
The atmospheric background really makes this work for me, as I'm not too much into a lot of the deathcore that floods the scene. Sure, I like power and complete obliteration in some of my music, but the genre has become so monotonous with bands continuously doing the same thing over and over. The sense of darkness and unknown presented here is always apparent and it keeps my ears guessing.
"Entry VI: Susano'o" adds that much needed calm moment that a lot of groups tend to disregard. This is just one of those needed characteristics that prevents a record from sounding so repetitive that I prevent myself from listening to those types of albums more than once. Also, this song plays an important part with the storytelling of the album, which is explained in more details with the final track.
Listen to this album. Why? Well, because this album rules and also because it finally brings a breath of variety into a scene that likes to repeat the same garbage over and over. I love the concept and the replay ability is surprisingly high. You can stream it down below to find out for yourself.
Rating - 9.1/10
1. Entry I: The Unknown
2. Entry II: Colossus
3. Entry III: Wyvern
4. Entry IV: Atronachs
5. Entry V: Cerberus
6. Entry VI: Susano'o
7. Entry VII: Albatross
8. Entry VIII: Heartless
9. Entry IV: Nazgûl
10. Entry X: Bahamut
11. Entry XI: Reprieve
12. Entry XII: Discovery
13: The Missing Pages
John Galloway - Written, Recorded, Mixed and Mastered
Duncan Harbison recording some guitars.
Brett Ruch contributing a chord section in Heartless.