Album Review: XENOSIS, Paralleled Existence

by Nikita Alekseyevich Khrenov

Connecticut has been churning out banger after banger lately; old school heavy metal, melodic death metal, brutal death metal, power metal, doom — whatever sub-genre you can think of, the state has been producing fantastic records. Technical death metal is a daunting beast of a genre; some of the best players showcase their immense skill within this field. Now with a fresh lineup, Xenosis throw their hat into the ring with their October 1st release, Paralleled Existence.

Right off the bat, this feels like a totally different band. While previous records were no less technically impressive, they were harmonically a bit more familiar. Dissonance had a presence; however, many of the chord choices and guitar harmonies were more comfortable and familiar. All of that is thrown to the side from the beginning on this new record. Raging riffing and brain melting chords assault the listener as it leads into discordant chugs and spicy lead guitars. Jazz chords and intricate counterpoint across both guitars and the bass keeps the mind spinning before an almost jam band solo section hits complete with funky rhythms and softly plucked clean guitars accompanying smooth shreddy goodness.

This record has it all wrapped up in a jazzy package. “Prophetic Blight” immediately brings comparisons to modern Gorguts with its dark and foreboding chords before going into an section that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Spastic Ink record. “Castrato” starts with slamming chugs highlighting a bass melody before ripping right into melodic riffage and arpeggiated chord voicings right out of the Martyr playbook. This record is dripping with Dan Mongrain and Ron Jarzombek influences, from the use of just about every scale mode that isn’t the standard minor scale, jarring tempo changes, complex rhythms, and every music theory device one can think of.

Make no mistake, despite the sheer depth of complexity on display here the band makes sure that each track stands out as a well-written song. Amorphous Conquerors possess one of the most infectious riffs where all three stringed instruments play off of each other in a way that each subsequent listen reveals something not heard previously, like a fun Easter Egg, all the while keeping your head bobbing and grooving along to the delicious riffage.

Drummer Gary Marotta highlights his immense skill throughout this whole record. His ability to not only keep the pace with the wild nature of the compositions, but his Gene Hoglan-esque fills and ability to dance across the drum kit has to be admired. With a band like this sometimes the instrumentals overshadow the vocalist but that’s not at all a concern with this album. Vocalist Sal Bova does an immensely impressive job managing to weave in his infernal growls and shrieks in between the instruments while giving each section just enough space to let the rest of the band infect the listeners ear.

Many bands wish they could have the graceful transition between lineups that Xenosis has had. The band managed to keep their identity intact while also elevating their craft to the next level. Paralleled Existence is an incredibly dense and complex record, one that requires multiple spins to truly understand and appreciate and a record that deserves it’s spot in the upper echelons of technical death metal right alongside Colored Sands and Warp Zone.

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