Released: 2012, Redefining Darkness Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
When it comes to death metal, Canada does not come to mind as the place churning out premium bands in the genre. While the country may not be well known for it, lurking beneath the surface is some serious extreme talent as Cryptopsy has already shown us. Once again we see death metal rear its ugly head in British Colombia as Xul come forth with hopes of savaging our ears. Formed in 2008, the band have already begun making waves, sharing the stage with giants such as giants such as Skeleton Witch, ABSU, Obscura, Cryptopsy and Goreguts.
Those who are already fans of the band may be getting a sense of de ja vu with this record. Riding on the back of their success with their previous EP Extinction Necromance and to preceded their forthcoming album in 2016, they are reissuing their debut Malignance. The album drips with malice. Every note is delivered with absolute precision as it races from riff to riff. The sound has a great presence reminiscent of Immolation, particularly in opening songs such as Battlestorm. Snarled vocals become more prominent as we hit Porta Noctis introducing lashings of black metal into the mix. While this may be a technically focused album, there band have not forgotten to add a solid groove throughout, avoiding some of the usual trappings of becoming technical for its own sake.
While the album largely follows one sound, Winter’s Reign sees a slightly strange departure from the usual clean mix and introduces a much heavier synth presence. While a little change might have been welcome in the album, this track definitely has the odd one out vibe running through it. Despite this, the album still manages to slam you at every turn, pummelling any unsuspecting listeners with precision rhythms, devistating riffs and snarling vocals. Are they Crytoptsy standard? Well no, but they’re damn close.
Review by Caitlin Smith