Hey there, tech fiends. It's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual weekly reminder that if you're looking for even more sick bands to hear, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
The best thing about doing this feature every week is helping killer groups who may not be covered much elsewhere get the exposure they deserve. For today’s early album stream of Xenopredator – Research and Development, I owe a deal of thanks to Misanthropy member Kevin Kovalskey for cluing me in to the outstanding music made by two of his Misanthropy bandmates that play in Xenopredator.
It seems clear to me that a mix of entrenched scene awareness and personal ambitions, a solid live scene that is aware of great bands who play live, has to play a role in at least some of the overwhelming output of quality extreme metal coming from Chicago and a few other cities in the United States. At the end of the day, the music speaks for itself, Xenopredator – Research and Development does just that as yet another notable act to come from the greater Chicago area.
Formerly known as Predator until quite recently, the amorphous outfit that is Xenopredator has existed since 2007. Multiple line-up shifts, a few EP’s, and several recent singles pre-date today’s early full stream of Research and Development. All of which convinced me this project is the real deal and one I should cover. The most important point to me is the quality and thrilling ambition on display here. It’s hard to be in any band on the technical and progressive end of extreme metal and to really put the time in to build something special. Many try and fewer still exist by the point that place can even potentially be reached usually. As the old saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.”
A statement that is quite applicable here given how incredible and eclectic Research and Development is. Few bands working within any strain of tech-death related music have ever released a single effort on par with what this album accomplishes as a whole. I’d consider that as an important note of distinction. Quantity and quality often get jumbled together without really judging things on the merits. Research and Development is a few levels above most from start to finish in ways that are incredibly difficult to explain in just a few words. Releases like this are my favorite given that they eschew all the norms yet somehow have a more listenable quality than most within tech-death to boot.
So, as usual, I reached out to the band to relay more of how they feel about it from the inside. They shared that “Research and Development” is a culmination of our years jamming these songs live around the Chicagoland area as Predator. We’ve been through a lot of tribulations and lineup switches, so we thought it would be best to relaunch the band as Xenopredator. Some of these songs are many years old, and have been slowly written and rewritten over time; so the musical influences cover a lot of bases, including Death, Decrepit Birth, Cannibal Corpse, Vektor, Bonded by Blood, Origin, Gorguts, The Black Dahlia Murder, The Faceless, Inferi, Consider the Source, Spawn of Possession, among many more.
This was recorded and mixed in our practice space by our drummer, Paul Reszczynski. Most of the lyrics are basically different fan fiction based on various books and stories. To credit the lyrical inspiration; Colonial Eradication, Close Quarter Battle, and Mechanically Separated Humans take place in John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” universe. Intergalactic Expeditionary Strike force is based on Joe Haldeman’s “The Forever War”. The final track, Upon the Blooded Sands, is about Frank Herbert’s “Dune”, and features a guest saxophone appearance by Bruce Lamont (Brain Tentacles, Yakuza). Our old guitarist, Dennis Bereza, cowrote all these songs and recorded both guitars in the acoustic outro on “Upon the Blooded Sands”, improv jamming to himself. This is the exact kind of epic, aggressive death/thrash we’ve always wanted to make. Xenopredator is now stronger than ever before, and we can’t wait to show the world what we’re cooking up for the next album. It’s only getting weirder, just don’t expect “Research and Development – Part 2”.”
So, as usual, I’ll let you be the judge and click below to check out all of Xenopredator – Research and Development has in store for those with a desire to intake unorthodox forms of tech-death spliced with progressive and thrash areas of focus. I’m quite sure many of you will agree with me that this is a very special release once you hear it all. If you like what you’re hearing, you can order it through the Xenopredator Bandcamp page soon. You can follow the group over on the Xenopredator Facebook page.