Greetings tech fiends, it's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's column, here's the usual weekly reminder that if you're looking to find even more sick bands, you can do so here.
Worlds beyond us exist, and it's time to share a glimpse from the beyond with you today. Arguably a supergroup as is, Labyrinth of Stars (featuring members of Lantlôs, Valborg, and Owl) are set to drop their debut album, Spectrum Xenomorph, on September 30 via Translation Loss Records. But why wait until then?
Overall, Spectrum Xenomorph is built upon a Morbid Angel framework accelerated in a Hate Eternal sort of way that feels like Morbid Angel riffs and solos on steroids and delivered at a faster pace as opposed to just sounding like one of any number of other Hate Eternal-sounding groups around. Ultimately, this release isn't a throwback sound at heart, so let's get that out of the way lest you think this is a new old-school death metal effort. If anything, the core influence behind the music here is delivered in a way more akin to Mithras; evolved, alien-like, and otherworldly at all times.
Labyrinth Of Stars nails the otherworldy aesthetic that their cover art, album title, the production of their album, and their lyrical themes are about to a degree that is honestly fucking beautiful. The band's atmospheric approach ranges from minimalist ideas that would fit on Meshuggah's Catch 33, to darker and or oddly uplifting terrain in a way that splits the difference between what you'll hear on Dodecahedron and Artificial Brain releases.
The production adds a lot to the all-encompassing experience that is Spectrum Xenomorph, reminding me more than anyone else of Anaal Nathrakh. Which fits the sound and approach Labyrinth of Stars is going for like a glove. Of course, none of this is a surprise once you know the people behind the music which includes the mastermind behind Lantlôs along with musicians from well-known metal acts Valborg, and Owl. The songs here may not be as unorthodox as what you'll find in their main bands, but it’s no less a unique deconstruction of a given form of metal music. Simply put, this is a release that runs on endless creativity, and as a result, there's enough to enjoy within the depths of Spectrum Xenomorph to last those who dive into it for a very long time.
For more information on the band and the album, Labyrinth of Stars kindly shared with us that: "Labyrinth Of Stars was born on the one hand through our deep connection to the music of Morbid Angel and on the other hand through our passion for dark classic sci-fi movies and literature. The biggest inspiration for the atmosphere of this record is probably the 1979 movie Alien and the strange spaced-out vibes that Trey Azagtoth, who we adore a lot, puts out through his guitar playing. This guy definitely deserves more attention than he gets. Fucking legend.
"This album is very important to us because it started in a very innocent way and evolved into this special thing that became increasingly more serious and passionate. It created an even deeper bond between us although we know each other long and well. Suddenly we started imagining worlds, stories, characters, and all that. We had these movies playing in our minds that became a rich and lucid vision of an ethereal dark otherworld. An abstract loneliness. Humans vs. tech vs. aliens. Highly technological but also very ancient at the same time. There are primal religious beliefs and cults, there are dying gods and space commanders with machine guns. We paint a high-tech future vision from the 80s with all gray computers and tube monitors. And of course as the most powerful and omnipresent protagonist the grim cold and eerie space. Looking back on it now, it marks a very special time for us. Beyond the whole Death Metal thing, it also reflects a special feeling we had at that time."
What seems apparent to me after numerous spins through Spectrum Xenomorph, is that this is a release that, while clearly wearing its influences on its sleeve, has made something new and noteworthy from the same ingredients used by many other bands to far lesser results. So be sure to give this a few spins below, I'm confident many of you will love this album. If you like what you're hearing, pre-orders (and more) through their label Translation Loss can be perused here, and the cassette version of the release coming out through Total Dissonance Worship can be pre-ordered here.