|Review: Xael - Bloodtide Rising|
Label: Pavement Music
Year released: 2021
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: April 8, 2021
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (6 Votes)
Xael are a band that initially started as a solo project of drummer Joshua Ward, but became a full band after others showed interest, most notably current Nile vocalist Brad Parris. Unsurprisingly, their sophomore effort, Bloodtide Rising, sounds a little bit like Nile with its technical songwriting approach, only the band mixes in a lot of grand symphonic trappings à la Septicflesh that adds some dramatic flair to the high concept sci-fi stories that the band builds their songs around. That all makes this sound cool as hell, and at times it can be, but despite a lot of effort, Xael doesn't quite hit the mark. Their riffs are heavy and their songs are complex, but neither are very interesting in spite of all that, often cramming as many elements as they can without really figuring out how they go together. This could maybe be overlooked if they had the same killer guitar work as the bands they take inspiration from, but really it's just OK, often being a small part of the overall compositions rather than a driving force. This is a solid effort, and fans of more symphonic Death Metal will want to check it out, but despite all the band's grand designs, Bloodtide Rising is merely standard.
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