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Xenotaph – “Vitae Iactura” – [Transylvanian Tapes]

Rat King   8/27/2014   A Library, Cassette

Vitae Iactura

Vitae Iactura, meaning “waste of life”, is the primary release from black metal Hayward kids Xenotaph. So kvlt you can smell the corpsepaint, Xenotaph is a trio consisting of a drummer (G), a guitarist/vocalist (Z), and a guitarist/bassist/effectsperson (R). Our version of the cassette was put out by Transylvanian Tapes and recorded at Earhammer Studios, so it’s all local. This is cold, cold metal, very much influenced by all those troubled young men in Scandinavia (Darkthrone is a popular comparison). Tracks last between six and eight minutes, providing enough time to sink into them properly.

Instrumentations consists largely of guitar riffs and blast-beats, but there are also many slow, creepy portions to bring on the despair. ‘Violation’ has particularly infectious drumming, and the guitars take on an interesting, almost Eastern-European folk quality at times while retaining the metal character. Vocals are sometimes moaned, sometimes growled, sometimes barked, and always raspy and hoarse. Lyrical themes include not limiting oneself by bending to the will of society, blasphemous rituals, and avenging animal rage.

‘Descending’ is an instrumental, effects-heavy soundscape. The trees. The wind. The crunching of snow beneath your feet, the sound of shadows as they stretch bare branches into dark claws that reach slowly across the blue-and-white ground. It’s all there, it’s eerie, and it’s beautiful. Follow the voices.

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