If you’ve heard Cephalectomy
then you’ll know what to expect from Barra Xul
. Chaotic song structures injected with high levels of technicality, melody and brutality. It’s a strange concept but one that works really well in creating an utterly chaotic listen. Unpredictable is the best word to describe this form of melodic yet undeniably brutal form of death metal. Song structures are hard to wrap your head round; they’re chaotic, unpredictable and constantly shifting. Tempo shifts and transitions happen in the blink of an eye, none of the ideas are used for a long time, the songs constantly shift and term. Seamlessly shifting between melodeath and brutal death metal. Interestingly is how all the songs have a natural fluidity to them, nothing feels out of place, it all comes together in one organized yet chaotic package.
The instrumentation is nothing short of excellence, it’s ridiculously technical and grinding, lots of brutality on display here. Guitar tone is thick and crunchy, it’s much cleaner than that of Cephalectomy
allowing the music more room to breathe and making it easier to handle. As well as the cleaned up production, it’s not as ridiculously chaotic as Cephalectomy
. It’s much more focused, riffing isn’t as over the top, melodies are used more, not at all sounding randomly employed. The lack of chaotic and unpredictable song writing is a hindrance however; I loved Cephalectomy
for the sheer over the top nature of them. Barra Xul
on the other hand feels more controlled, not as over the top, diluted would be a good word to use. The song writing is still stellar but compared to Cephalectomy
it’s not as crazy and intense. The melodies are undeniably more melodic on Barra Xul
but they don’t hit as hard as those of Cephalectomy
, there’s more of them and therefore they lack the power that the melodies of Cephalectomy
did. Song structures are easier to handle, ideas are fleshed out more, there’s no desire to be constantly shifting and turning.
Although I like the sound Barra Xul
have concocted, I do miss the balls out nature of Cephalectomy
. It’s much more focused; more effort has been put into making the songs more consistent as a whole. The songs themselves, whilst still crazily chaotic are far too consistent. Riffs flow into each other with a greater sense of purpose, melodies are much more comfortable and better written. Nothing
jumps out at me as much as Cephalectomy
. Whilst I guess you can consider this a plus, the songs are easier to digest, not as headache inducing and the production is much cleaner. I however see it as a step down in quality from Cephalectomy
, the tamer song structures whilst still allowing for some breath taking moments aren’t as interesting. They’re still excellent mind you but they lack the extra bite Cephalectomy
have. Barra Xul
is a much more focused entity, much more comfortable in their art.
Of course this is only a minor gripe as Barra Xul
are an altogether different entity. I greatly appreciate the added melodies, it allows for a pretty cool old school melodeath feel. The melodies are never cheesy or flowery; it strikes the perfect equilibrium, balancing melody and brutality in perfect alignment. Of course, changes from their previous band are meant to be expected, I do love the melodies and the more consistent song writing. It allows it to be more fluid and organic then Cephalectomy
, though I still miss the over the top nature of Cephalectomy
. Whilst Cephalectomy
felt like a wild animal, constantly moving, rabid and insane. Barra Xul
feels as though that very same animal has been caged, still insane and chaotic, but the beast is under control. Still keeping some semblance of insanity but moving into more straight forward and increasingly melodic directions, Barra Xul
have created an exciting album that mixes melody, brutality and an absurd level of technicality.