Soundtrack music sometimes can make or break a film or TV show. Think about how much more of an impact certain scenes in a movie or an episode of a television series have just by using the right music. There are countless scenes from my favorite movies and TV shows that were made that much more memorable because of the music used during the scene. Sometimes the movie or episode helps make the music become recognized or popular outside of the format in which it was used. Sometimes the music becomes even more popular than the film or TV show itself. Guitarist Andy Phillips, drummer Michael Pitman, and Bassist / Guitarist Owain Williams must have appreciated the impact of a good soundtrack as well. They formed Xerath in 2007 with a goal of combining film score style composition with extreme metal. Xerath’s latest release, “III,” out September 16, 2014 on Candlelight Records, is their best example of this yet.
Xerath has always been in to creating a big sound on their records. If you are familiar with the band’s previous albums, “I” and “II,” you will know what I am talking about. Press play and prepare to get your hair blown back. Richard Thomson‘s vocal acrobatics are something to behold on “III.” He emanates guttural growls, mid-range blasts, glorious clean melodies, and shrieks that could rival the mighty Devin Townsend himself. You can imagine he looks much like the form depicted on the album cover; arms out stretched, face to the sky, with the world crumbling around him when he sings. It is like the power of his voice and the rest of Xerath are what is causing the destruction. Bassist Christopher Clark lays down heavy grooves underneath these powerful vocals and synth melodies on tracks like opener ‘I Hold Dominion’ and ‘Ironclad.’ New guitarist Conor McGouran rips. He can groove with Clark like on ‘I Hunt for the Weak’ and ‘Demigod Doctrine,’ plow through some vicious riffs like on tracks ‘2053’ and ‘Autonomous,’ or a sweet solo like on ‘Sentinels.’ Pittman’s work behind the drum kit is superb. His ability to follow the ebb and flow of the dynamics from track to track is the glue that keeps everything from flying apart. ‘Passenger’ is a great example of his handiwork.
Xerath “III” is like the blast from an atomic bomb; powerful, majestic, beautiful, and destructive. Excellent production quality puts a razor edge on an already sharp collection of quality metal. “III” takes all that Xerath has done before to the next level. This is Xerath at 11 and they don’t seem like they are planning on turning it down.