Album: Atlas Construct
Release: June 10th 2016
Xeno, Progressive Metal band from The Netherlands, are about to release their debut album “Atlas Construct”. The band consists of Ruben Willemsen on vocals, Tim Schaling on keys, Daniel de Coninck on guitars, Joris van Hemert on bass and finally Damian de Muijnck on drums. Their music is rather hard to define since there are progressive, black, death and groove influences combined to one unique style of music that I find hard to compare to any other band. Curious what their album Atlas Construct brings to the metal scene? Read on and find out!
The album starts with an intro that is based on rather creepy keys supported by some percussion that leaves the listener wondering what the rest of the album is like. The first real track of the album begins which is Mundicide. This song immediately clarifies the progressive influences used by Xeno. As soon as the vocals enter the mix, I got the feeling I was listening to Xerath, yet there are some significant differences from this band. When listening to the song, I got a feeling of laid back progressiveness, combined with the heaviness and thorough brutal feeling of death metal. To me, the different parts within the song (verse/chorus) were a bit hard to distinguish, since there were three parts which kept coming back throughout the entire song. This is not necessarily a bad thing, rather a factor which keeps the listener fascinated and entertained.
Interesting is that the name of the album (Atlas Construct) can be found back in the song titles. Tracks 5-8 are called Construct Part 1, Construct Part 2 and Atlas respectively. Kicking off with Part 1 of Construct, the band immediately sets the stage of what is to come in the rest of the song. Significantly faster and more complex than Mundicide, the song almost reminds me of Wintersun meets Lamb of God (if that combination doesn’t make you curious, I wouldn’t know what will). The breakdown or bridge is where especially the Lamb of God feeling becomes most present. Part 2 is slightly more symphonic. The only reason I could think of why the band decided to split it into two songs would be that it would be too long otherwise (15.48 combined, in comparison the other tracks are between 4-9 minutes). Aside from that, the two tracks fit together perfectly.
Atlas, on the other side, should be seen as symphonic groove rock/metal. This song is the complete opposite of Construct Part 1 and 2. Keys are more prominent in the mix and the listener gets a short break from the fast brutal riffs from the rest of the album. This does not mean that Atlas is not heavy as hell, on the contrary, since it’s slower than the other songs, the heaviness comes forth even more. This general feeling is continued in the final song of the album, New World Order. This track leaves the listener generally wanting more of this rather unique style of music.
The overall music of the album is generally great with a very interesting mixture of different genres. As Damian described ‘there are all kinds of influences. You can talk about that for hours’. Personally, the final mixing and mastering could have done slightly better, since some songs sound like they have a lot of treble added to the mix and the volume of the vocals is slightly too low, this results in a clash with the guitar sound. Aside from that, the bass guitar could have gone a bit louder.
This does not however influence the overall musical ingenuity of this album.
I rate Xeno – Atlast Construct 8/10!