Review: “Reconstruction” by Xeno

Having undergone something of a style shift over the past six years, Dutch Progressive Metal act Xeno have returned to their 2016 debut album “Atlas Construct” to rewrite a trio of cuts in what they now consider to be their sound as a tribute to their past. An interesting turn of events then, given the success of their hour long critically acclaimed 2020 album “Sojourn” which defies genre limitations while continuing a lyrical narrative of both philosophical and personal issues to create something immersive…

…which is not to say that these new works are not immersive. In fact they’re captivating in a whole new way, the cinematic opening to “Columns” fading into ethereal sounds as off kilter Progressive Metal riffs judder and shake the foundations before the clean vocals begin a delicate passage. Pushing extremes out the unclean vocal parts cut through the spine snapping crunch of the heavier riffs before the band get eclectic and eccentric with some moments that sound like Destrage taking on a Haken song. The mid cut drop off for a piano melody is simply majestic and Patton esq before the guitars come back in. A rich tapestry of diverse textures, the opening cut is one to savour with a wealth of complexity that will keep you coming back to it for more, especially once you’ve heard the vibrant solo. “Pillars” is the second choice for this rework, a near eight minute slab of darkness with throat shredding vocals and bouncy riffs that take things forward with strides of purpose. More direct than the expansive opening cut, this still packs plenty of funk into riffage with cinematic sounds backing blast beats in the mid section offering a tasty treat. “Gift” is the third and final moment of magic on offer in “Reconstruction” which leaves things on something of a cliff hanger because the EP screams go and rework the rest of “Atlas Construct” as the Messhuggah like chugging riffs make the ground shake beneath our feet [8/10]

Track Listing

  1. Columns
  2. Pillars
  3. Gift

Reconstruction” by Xeno is out 16th November 2022 via Art Gates Records

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