Xoth - Invasion of the TentacubeIn the green-binary star system of Xoth, the deity Idh-yaa got all down and dirty with Cthulhu to create his slutty star-spawn. In a similar fashion, the band Xoth have got all down and dirty with all the blackened sub-genres of the metal-sphere, spawning a debut album that reaches far beyond the stars. Xoth competently convey the playful theatricality of Bal-Sagoth, minus the symphonic quirks, and the elaborate prog-death twists and turns of Sound of Perseverance era Death through a Lovecraft meets sci-fi B-movie themed musical lens. Throw in equal measures of ultra-melodic black-thrash sweetness and Absu-esque fury and you’ve got a recipe for something great, and Invasion of the Tenatcube is great.

Xoth have an unhinged quality that cranks, creaks, and fizzes with such a joyous intensity that I can’t help but feel uplifted every time I listen to Invasion of the Tentacube. The album is verbose, over-indulgent, loquacious and incredibly garrulous, and because of this, it’s a fascinating listen from beginning to end. Xoth have garnished their music with a much neglected ingredient in extreme metal circles: fun. A light-heartedness runs through the music in the form of ultra-melodic and spiraling dual guitar harmonies, the most sumptuous of slap-bass twangs, and lyrical annunciation demanding that we “get down to our feeble knees and bow to the ooze.”

However, for all its fun and light-heartedness, at its core Invasion of the Tentacube is a technical spectacle that changes pace and tone at a dizzying rate. Opener “Tentacles of Terror” whips proceedings into action with catchy melodies that mimic the snarled vocal lines. The song warps into full-fat bassline soloing followed by waltzing lead solos followed by more soloing and more bass twanging with an undercurrent of emphatic drumming led by a prominent yet satisfying snare sound. Each instrument, the bass (played by ex-Warbringer member Ben Bennet) in particular, has an organic quality that gives the album such intriguing character.

The intertwining guitars glean with an acerbic vitality from start to end. The ultra-melodic phrasing, as in “Antediluvian Annihilation” and “Digital Mausoleum,” is reminiscent of Beyond the Permafrost era Skeletonwitch. However, it’s an airier style; Invasion of the Tenatcube does not sound as restricted or condensed as a lot of contemporary metal. There’s a certain fluidity and a sense of improvisational disarray that surges through without letting up. “Antediluvian Annihilation” in particular rampages forward with satisfyingly uplifting riffs that lead to power metal-esque soloing that can only warm the heart.

Xoth can shift to the darker side of the spectrum with ease, though. Songs like “Terramorphosis” and “Transcending the Energy Harvest” burst into existence with more bite and venom. Guitarist and vocalist Tyler Splurgis is largely uniform with his use of mid-ranged snarls but they’re dirty and angry enough to add a venomous dynamic to the melodic lead guitar stargazing. Second guitarist and vocalist Woody Adler supplies the death growls that only sporadically, though to great effect as in the excellent finale “Universal Death,” make an appearance to add muscle to the showboating. Comparisons with Vektor will undoubtedly be made, however, Xoth aren’t as dissonant, vast and clean sounding. Xoth tell a completely different story. If Vektor are the Star Destroyer then Xoth are the Millennium Falcon: rusty, rickety and full of character.

Xoth 2016

Xoth haven’t completely perfected their sound; at times their compositions are rough around the edges. An album so unremittingly pulsating is a double-edged sword: the myriad riffs and constant cacophony are brilliant but at the same time, such as during the middle period of the album, I experienced a sense of over-stimulation. So much nourishment is refreshing at first, but when the nutrients keep coming, and coming, and coming, the flavor begins to die. There’s just so much goodness to take in but not enough time, space, and careful planning to facilitate for it. This is personal preference but slower and meaningful interludes, such as the synth/classical guitar interlude towards the end of “Antediluvian Annihilation,” would send Invasion of the Tentacube to even more impressive levels.

Invasion of the Tentacube is not just great fun, it’s a technically diverse offering, built upon an organic and full-bodied production, which spreads its tentacles across various black-thrash connected sub-genres with an assertive confidence, especially for a new band, that is refreshing and encouraging. Invasion of the Tentacube isn’t without flaws, but these are minor; a closer focus on pacing with a bit of structural pruning and fine-tuning and Xoth could be on to something excellent in the future.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
LabelCreature of the Northwest
Websites: xoth.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/beholdxoth
Releases Worldwide November 10th, 2016

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  • Wilhelm

    It sounds as if they are trying something original, their own sound which is a rare thing in today’s metal scene. I love it!

  • Love it. The Millennium Falcon comparison is spot on. A touch of humor in your art goes a long way for me.

    • Nag Dammit

      This is shaping up to be my favourite album of this year because of that. It has a proper metal attitude. Rebellious and rough around the edges but can still make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    I’m digging this one. It’s like a soundtrack to an HP Lovecraft story.

    • Bart the Repairman

      I like it too, but… how the hell do you can associate this happy, lively music with themes of cosmic horror/existential fear/ancient, endless evil etc.?

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        I think I’m sick…

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Maybe he thinks endless evil is fun! ;)

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Bingo.

  • SuzyC

    That rocked hard. Put them on tour with Hoth forthwith!

    • brutal_sushi

      HOTH!!! YES!!!

      • Akerblogger

        and Jex Thoth!? . . . no? . . . I tried.

        • Nag Dammit

          Behe-MOTH???

  • herrschobel

    i like the production. very rough and still clear. suits the style. great find !

  • hallowed

    Great, kid! Don’t get cocky.

  • ArtifeX

    The embedded track is so much fun. I’m very fond of the guitar work! They need to be signed asap.

  • ArtifeX

    Currently hearing in YT the 2014 EP Hostile Terraforming, it’s a damn shame this guys don’t get the attention they deserve. Lovecraft would be proud.

  • dedseed1

    Lovecraft themes and a guitarist rocking a skullet? Sign me up.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I love the “going bald is no reason to cut my hair! Fuck it!” attitude.

  • WhamBamSam

    Wow, this is great. Thanks for the review (and for namedropping so many bands I like in it to counteract my general disinterest in Black Metal). I’d have completely slept on this one otherwise.

  • Eli Valcik

    Saw these guys with cattle decapitation a couple of weeks ago, pretty fun show.

  • brklyner

    Very pleasant surprise, can’t wait to dig into this one!

  • Iwein Denayer

    This is gold stuff! You made my day!

  • Poop King

    I’m seeing them this week with Vektor! YAES

    • Nag Dammit

      So jealous. What a line up.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Finally a Cthulhu themed metal album!!!
    This sounds rad I’ll check this out for sure.

  • Vic279

    You really raised the bar for me by mentioning the sound of perseverance but after listening to the invasion of the tentacube I think the review is spot on. The production makes it sound quite fresh and despite causing the drums to sound a bit hollow I enjoyed that I could hear every instrument and that I was able to concentrate on what they play. I believe this is a band ready for greatness, especially if they let some drops of darkness sink into their music.

  • Bart the Repairman

    That PE teacher provides some sweet basswork here.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I really love it when you can hear the bass! And awesome guitar solos, by the way.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Is Flea their bassist, because I hear lots o’ slappin’ goon’ on.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I like how the drummer made himself a Mickey Mouse ears hat out of his bass drums.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Starkill are on Century Media and these guys are unsigned? What the hell is wrong with this world?

  • contenderizer

    Awesome band & review. Inspired me to order both their CDs, so thanks, Akerblogger. Something about the drum production/recording bugs me, though. When they’re blasting, it often sounds more like Helmholtz resonance than a natural kit. See 00:45 in the linked track, for example. Excessive sidechainging? Or just an artifact of my shitty speakers/ears/imagination?

  • Excentric_13073

    This is awesome. It’s totally entering my playlist mixed in with Slugdge.

    • Kevin Taylor

      First time I heard this I definitely got a Slugdge-like feeling from it, and that’s always good.

  • Willem Stander

    Does this not sound like slightly-blackened SYL? It has that “it’s cool to throw in some major with y’all’s minor” vibe? Fucking legit though!