Label – Independent
Release Date – June 2012
Before I start talking about the new EP by Xanarial called Memorial of Madness, I’d like to quickly point out that Metalholic picked the perfect person to review this album. Because I am a geek, as you all may or may not know, and because I love death metal. With that being said….
Xanarial calls themselves “progressive metalcore”. Straight out of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, the band has made a name for itself in Russia via social networking and various promotion, however they are fairly new on the scene in the states, having only released one demo prior to this EP. As far as live gigs however, they’re fairly established, having toured with the likes of Ragnarok, Rotting Christ and Sonic Syndicate, to name just a few. Line up details include vocalist Oleg “Stre[lock]” Rodichev, bassist Stanislav Denisov, drummer Ilya Kovalenko, and guitarists Sergey “Davidich” Badahov and Boris Ursu.
Memorial of Madness isn’t exactly a memorial, because that would imply an event of the past. Instead, the “madness” that the album title speaks of will be immediately evident when it comes blasting out of your speakers. The EP starts off with “Absolute Zer0”, which is a full speed ahead, balls to the wall testament to death metal-geekery. The guitar work on the song borders on insane, and could go up against any technical death metal album easily. In counterpoint to the guitars however, is the sampling work that really makes this album something special. The techno blips and bleeps that bring to mind memories of those old 1980s computer games like Space Invaders and Pong struck a special chord in my heart for this group. As for vocals, Rodichev keeps this song, and most of the EP around that mid-range growl that is so popular with this genre, and others of its kind.
The Memorial of Madness moves on to the title track – and we take a slightly different turn on things. As before, through the pounding, breakneck instrumentation, and wild vocal growling, it is the technology that makes this track unique. On this particular song however, what comes to mind is something that would happen if Dark Tranquility met up with Pig Destroyer. Nevertheless, even though this song doesn’t contain quite as many electronic gadgetry effects, I’ll still use it as the soundtrack to my Space Invaders marathon.
The third track on the EP, “Damned Depression”, is where the group’s “progressive” side kicks in. This song is a roller coaster ride, going from riff to riff, and time signature to time signature at lightning speed. Especially impressive here once again is the technical death metal style guitar work, and the hinting of (here’s a surprise) piano (it sounds like a piano) … that comes in mid way through.
Closing the album out is a piece called “FAIL!” – but this song is anything but what the title implies. “FAIL!” is the closest that the band gets to no-frills, no nonense, straight up grindcore, with pig-squealing vocals throughout, and jackhammer style drumming. But have no fear, once again the techno bleeping makes an appearance about one-quarter of the way through, amidst the almost triumphant shouting of the song’s title. A highlight of this song is an impressive guitar solo that comes in about midway through. Clearly, the title of this song was a deception, it should have been called “WIN!”
If a bunch of death metal fans were having a LAN party at their house, I’d suggest that the soundtrack to their night of virtually blowing things up would be Memorial of Madness. Xanarial aren’t afraid to experiment, and that’s not a bad thing. The music is face-ripping, while at the same time bringing a nerdcore element that will appeal to the geek in you. Fans of anything from Pig Destroyer to Dark Tranquility may enjoy this album. Xanarial is currently working on their debut full length album, and we at Metalholic hope you pick up a copy when it is released, along with an emulated copy of “Pong”…
Rating : 8.9/10 Highlights : FAIL!, Damned Depression, Absolute Zero