Overall Score: 9/10 Vocals: 9/10 Riffs: 9/10 Originality : 8/10 Pros: Huge songs | Great guest vocal spots | Progression of the bands sound Cons: Some of the more experimental songs don't completely work
Over the last few years Crossfaith have built up a reputation of being one of the best live bands around. However their studio output has never been quite as well received as their live show, despite being consistently brilliant. They’ve often been written off as just a party band and their songwriting has never been given the credit it deserves. Hopefully with their latest album Xeno, they’ll be able to shake off this label.
After a short intro track the album kicks off properly with the title track and it becomes immediately clear Crossfaith have pushed their sound forward on this album. The opening riff is heavier than anything Crossfaith have done before but then a huge chorus kicks in giving the song an even bigger feel. There is definitely more emphasis placed on Ken’s clean vocals this time as nearly every song comes with an arena sized chorus. He definitely delivers his best performance yet both when it comes to his screams and clean vocals. What is most impressive is that Crossfaith haven’t lost any of their intensity despite this more melodic side being pushed forward. “Raise Your Voice” and “Devil’s Party” continue with a similar sound to the title track delivering more of the trademark Crossfaith sound with the addition of some big choruses.
“Ghost In The Mirror” features the first of the albums two guest vocal slots with a ferocious appearance from Beartooth’s Caleb Shomo, there is no doubt this will send crowds into a frenzy if they ever perform it live together. However it’s “Wildfire” featuring Benji Webbe from Skindred that proves to be the real highlight. Whilst the tracks leading up to this felt more serious that what Crossfaith have come out with in the past, “Wildfire” sees them dive right back into party territory. It seems that with the help of Benji, Crossfaith have been able to deliver the ultimate rock club anthem. Following this is “Tears Fall” which might just be the most surprising track Crossfaith have ever released. They strip away all the electronics and slow things down for a more emotional ballad, it does end up being one of the weaker tracks on the album but it’s nice to see Crossfaith try something new and it’s still far from a bad track. The second half of the album certainly feels more experimental, especially closing track “Astral Heaven” which is a 5 minute instrumental.
It’s these bits of experimentation mixed with the more traditional Crossfaith songs during the first half which make Xeno Crossfaith’s most interesting album yet. Combine this with the fact that every member of the band really seems to have upped their game this time and the end result is easily Crossfaith’s best album yet.
Xeno is released on the 18th of September 2015 through Razor & Tie Records.