Xeno is a progressive metal band from Middelburg that draws inspiration from Periphery, Opeth, Plini, Leprous, and Lamb of God. Their first official album Sojourn came out on the Spanish label Art Gates Records in October 2020 during the pandemic and was very well received. Now the band is back with a new EP: Reconstruction. Reconstruction is 22 minutes filled with heavy riffs, synths, piano, clean vocals, heavy grunts, and interesting lyrics. They are playing their release show on November 18th in Middelburg so if you want to see them live after this review, grab your tickets here.
Reconstruction is an homage to where the band came from, as they took three songs from their very first album Atlas Construct and rewrote them. Since releasing Atlas Construct the band has changed a lot and their music has changed accordingly. That made the band want to rewrite their earlier songs to close the previous chapter and move on to the next.
Order of the songs
Reconstruction feels like a reverse pyramid both in song length and style. It starts with an 11-minute prog epic, to end with a 3-minute banger. Columns is more on the melodic, mesmerizing synths and keys and clean vocals side, while Gift is a 3-minute heavy banger, with Pillars in between being a mix of both.
Columns starts with the main riff of the track played by some synth strings to give us a cinematic feel. The track could be the opening track for a SciFi movie. After the intro, the rest of the band kicks in and it’s clear this is a band of epic proportions. Clean, tight wall of sound, interesting songwriting, progressive weirdness in just the right places, and also important: not overdone. It’s melodic, emotional, and heavy when it needs to be. The Plini- and Haken are most clear in this track I think, whereas, for example, Gift is more on the Periphery side of things. All in all just a very polished and well-rounded sound. There is a really nice balance between heavy and light, both in instruments, songwriting, and in vocals.
The second track, Pillars, is a lot heavier than the first track and broadens the playing field for this band; fans of Lamb of God and Trivium can probably relate to this track too. Heavy riffs, pounding drums, and a lot of chuggah chuggah. The main riff being almost classic melodic death metal shows the band is not afraid to take inspiration from anywhere and combine it all. After all the heaviness the song ends with some (almost) instrumental lightness again to balance it. It bridges the gap between the heaviness that will follow with Gift and the more instrumental melodies we find in Columns.
The final track Gift has been previously released as a single as well. If you want to see how the band would perform this live: they also released a video clip for this track. The clip shows the energy this band has while playing, and that translates to the energy you get from this track. It also offers a lot of heavy riffing, grunts, and a chance to shout along with the band.
Reconstruction is an impressive piece of music that will appeal to both progressive metalheads and more heavy modern/groove metal lovers. Depending on your preference you probably need to play this release in reverse order. I can’t wait to see this band perform live, ‘cause from what I’ve seen this band will put on one hell of a show. The massive wall of sound and the balance in the tracks makes this feel like a very well-rounded band. This is probably one of the more professional bands in the Netherlands and I’m curious to see how they will progress.