Bands like Osaka’s Crossfaith come along once in a blue moon. They stand outside of the box, bringing a wealth of ideas with them, and they do what they do so much better than pretty much everyone else so that they make the rest of the scene look pretty shit in comparison.
”Xeno” is the follow-up to the widely acclaimed and frankly exhilarating ”Apocalyze”, and shows that not only have Crossfaith grown as a band, they have also brought everything and the kitchen sink with them.
After the instrumental opening of ‘System X’, the title track comes in kicking and screaming, all Slipknot riffage and screaming, but it gives way to a beautiful melodic chorus that will be stuck in your head for days, showing off much more of singer Ken Koie‘s vocal range, it’s an incredible way to open an album, and one that had me reaching for the repeat button a good few times before listening to the rest of the album.
‘Raise Your Voice’ and ‘Devil’s Party’ are both custom-made live anthems that should destroy venues all over the world, and actually manage to harness the bands live energy and bottle into two absolute ragers, which again proves how light years ahead Crossfaith are. Expect these two to be amongst the most talked about tracks on the album.
Further into the album, we have ‘Ghost in the Mirror’, featuring Beartooth frontman Caleb Shomo and his trademark throat shredding – he is the first of two guests on the album and it works perfectly fine as it doesn’t overexpose the guest, but also elevates the track in the process – it was a wise choice as one of the pre release promotional tracks.
The second guest spot on the album belongs to none other than the innovator of the Newport Helicopter Benji Webbe, on a track called ‘Wildfire’, which I think is not only the albums best track, but it will also be the most talked about as well. Imagine if LMFAO wrote a metal song for an Ibiza crowd, it’s probably the best way I can think of to describe it. It has the perfect mix of everything Crossfaith and Skindred do, but adds a massive dance vibe and proves to be a huge dancefloor anthem that is as infectious as Miley Cyrus‘ bed sheets. Even on an album that gets as heavy as this one does, it shows Crossfaith aren’t afraid to switch it up and swing for the creative fences. It’s a ballsy move that totally pays off for them.
Unfortunately, the tempo takes a little dip after with the somewhat sombre ‘Tears Fall’ which would have benefited from being the lead into ‘Wildfire’ as opposed to the comedown from it. It is nice to see Crossfaith spread their wings, and see Ken stretch his muscles lyrically and vocally, but it just feels a little out-of-place and is a definite buzz kill. ‘Paint it Black’ picks up the pace again and completely crushes, coming in like Godzilla and just levelling all that stands in its path.
Overall Crossfaith have once again taken a huge leap forward and raised the bar considerably for all those around them. ”Xeno” is an album of many colours and is one of the years finest from a band that just keeps getting better and better. This is an album full of skyscraper-sized choruses and riffs heavy enough to sink the Titanic. I cannot recommend this album highly enough, grab a copy now and thank me later.