Xul - Extinction Necromance - (7/10)
Published on May 29, 2015
Blackened death metal five-piece Xul have been lurking around in the Canadian underground since forming in 2008. The band released their debut full length album, Malignance, in 2012 before splitting up for a short time between 2013 and 2014. After regrouping, the band began work on the follow up to their debut, a thirty minute EP titled Extinction Necromance, which dropped in May of 2015.
Those familiar with the band’s debut should find no surprises, as Extinction Necromance brings the steamrolling rhythms combined with a proficient blend of technical flourishes, tremolo riffing and militant chugging. While the music has a similar feel and taste, the band’s latest brings a highly polished production job which puts the debut album to shame. With that being said, the band’s tendency of oftentimes sounding similar to Dissection or Sacramentum has passed in favor of sticking to the more modernized sounds of recent Behemoth or Hate.
The majority of Extinction Necromance focuses on sharp trem riffing, blasting double bass runs and a chunky, rhythmic palm muting. The drums are pretty much on overdrive for the entirety, but it’s fitting with the pummeling riffing. While the band’s sound is surely rooted in the blackened death metal of Behemoth, there’s a lot of technical bursts of proggy leads, like the burst of fretboard mastery during “Summon the Swarm” or the frequent light-speed snare rolls. Most of the album features breakneck speed, deep growled vocals and militant steamrolling, but there are a few moments to break up the constant bombardment. The opening track, “Frozen, We Drown” dabbles with a bit of symphonic and melodic elements, which, although it seems to come from left field, it helps to justify the track’s eight-plus minute run time. “Orbit of Nemesis” begins with a bit of Fleshgod Apocalypse styled psuedo-orchestra while “Summon the Swarm” starts with melodic picking before blasting off.
Extinction Necromance is a solid EP for Xul to regain their footing in the metal scene. Their brand of technically proficient blackened death metal isn’t really anything new, but they play with conviction and sport some extremely heavy riffing and percussion. Some of the melodic elements seem a bit forced and come across as nothing but filler, as they really don’t add a whole to the band’s sound. Proggy solos rampantly blasting drums and chunky guitar riffing are the order of the day. Certainly a step in the right direction, we’ll just have to see what the future holds for Xul.