(Blood Harvest Records)

Xantam The Beholder used to be the drummer for a band called Abscission, but he’s decided to move things into a much different state of affairs with this solo project. Mixing together elements of death, black and thrash metal, the sound encapsulated here definitely matches up with that of the horrifying D&D Beholder on the tape’s cover. It’s the kind of performance that feels a bit raw, but shows the listener that there’s clearly some talent. There’s enough in the way of song structure to outweigh the brutality, making it more than standard-fare death metal. But it definitely still retains enough of that grimy, grave rotting power to appeal to the fans of old cemetery slabs. What’s most interesting about Xantam though, is the fact that the slightly used synths and riff melodies help to create an atmosphere that flows rather well with the lyrics. The music is able to breathe, especially on closer “Realm Of Vile Limitations” which is actually the first song he ever wrote as a solo artist. That really says a lot considering just how powerfully textured the piece is, as well as the brutal beatdown that you’ll receive along with it. LifeDeathBeyond is a record that shows a lot of promise, which will come to fruition later this year when the debut album releases. If you like your death metal piled on thick, but still want some substance, imagery and atmosphere, then you’ll definitely want to pick up this reissue. It’ll be a good appetizer for the main course still to come. (Eric May)

Purchase LifeDeathBeyond here.


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