First releases can be difficult for many bands and artists, usually seeing a group put out a single followed, after a while, by another, with this pattern repeating until they have enough songs to put together an EP. Such is not the case for Denmark’s own Xenoblight, an extreme metal quintet who formed only in 2017, yet have already released their first full-length album… and it is absolutely crushing. Focusing less on touring, the group threw themselves in to the recording studio, working tirelessly to produce Procreation: forty four minutes of intensely heavy metal, pulling together elements from the death, thrash, and black metal genres.
Opening with its title track, Procreation introduces itself to listeners with a slow, ominous acoustic guitar solo; an eerily soothing track which beckons you closer, creating a feeling of enchantment within you. “Procreation” is followed immediately by “Descension”, a track which could not be any more opposite to its predecessor, bombarding listeners with thick, weighty riffs from the word go. What Xenoblight have effectively created here is a musical version of someone drawing you in close before they smash your head in with a baseball bat.
The rest of Procreation follows much in the same vein as “Descension”, with Xenoblight creating walls of extreme metal though thundering, maniacal guitar and bass riffs, underlain with blastbeats, topped with the throaty, hoarse vocals of Marika Hyldmar. The vocals within this album are something of particular interest, as rather than the stock vocals for an extreme metal band, where the singer would utilize a deep, booming, and almost unintelligible scream, Hyldmar instead screams in such a way that is more in line with the black metal scene; high pitched, fast-paced, even understandable to a certain degree. This difference is subtle, and not exactly a game-changer in the extreme metal world, but is enough to set Xenoblight apart from other bands in the scene, as if they have added their own custom signature on the genre.
Tracks are fired at you with all the pace of a bullet leaving a machine gun, and make about as much of an impact too. Easily one of the most heavy tracks of the album is “Xenoblight”. A band naming a track after themselves is something of an autobiographical experience, a way for the band to let listeners know exactly who they are with their music alone, something to define the band. From this, the self-titled track tells listeners that Xenoblight are methodical and technical in their approach to music, with the track itself being tight-knit and so wickedly clean in it’s procession that it can be easy to forget that Xenoblight have played for little over a year together. “Xenoblight” is fast and hits hard, introduced by a barrage of sickeningly quick drumbeats before a wave of down-tuned, dueling guitars crushes you under its own weight. The track itself is an instrumental, something that could have been chosen so as to illustrate the skill and sheer ability of the band.
Procreation is a solid album, one which satisfies from beginning to end, leaving the listener entertained throughout. The album neither outstays its welcome, nor does it end too soon; it is the Goldilocks of extreme metal albums. Most importantly, if Xenoblight are capable of producing an album of such a caliber this early in to their musical career, then what follows Procreation will truly be something to behold. Xenoblight have set themselves a high bar to surpass, yet it is not one that they are not capable of hurdling.
Procreation is out now and is available to buy here.