REVIEW: Xyphos – What Comes Before EP

Xyphos - What Comes Before album cover

Band: Xyphos
Album: What Comes Before EP
Release: 2011
Label: Self-released
Genre: Progressive Technical Brutal Death Metal

Bringing back a taste of the oldschool, Toronto-based Xyphos deliver a blend of progressive and technical yet brutal death metal over the course of 17 minutes with their début EP, What Comes Before. Following in the footsteps of Immolation and Suffocation, the band show a remarkable amount of promise having only been together 2 years.

4 songs are provided, and each display a different side to Xyphos. The amusingly-titled opener, “Obsessive Compulsive Decapitation” starts with a feel of refined gore in the vein of Exhumed, in both music and vocals, then moves onto a slower groove section and finishes off blasting the listener with a set of Obscura-esque solos. The bass makes a prominent presence à la Gorguts such as in “Abusement”, and drumming ranges from competent to overpowering. The low guttural vocals are interchanged well with a raspy mid, much like Harvey and Beams in Exhumed, overlapping each other if occasionally mispronouncing words.

Because each song is quite different, the EP does present an identity crisis of sorts. The melodic sections in the title track are quite different to the Aborted-esque opener, and the only constant is the vocal trade-off mentioned. Even then, the lyrics go from gore-infested “Slicing off the flesh of the one who gave her life” to “You hide behind the mask of your skin/Shelter beneath the cloak of your sin”. I get the feeling that the lyrics were quite rushed in their creation and recording; “Abusement” aside, most of the lyrics are interchangeable with the songs, and even sometimes become unintelligible.

For being free to stream/download, there is little to complain about, and the promise of a full-length to be released later this year certainly has me interested, but for now these four songs are enough to give a good taster of Xyphos’ variety of styles, and are well worth checking out.

Rating: 6.5/10

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