IXXI, "Assorted Armament"
IXXI are a thrashy black metal outfit from Sweden. The best description I can think of would be a cleaner Carpathian Forest, at least for the first two thirds of the album. The vocals are akin to a raspier Tom Warrior, right down to the occasional *EUGH!*, do not regard that as a complaint. The riffs have Celtic Frost written all over them; however the tempo is a bit too fast for this to be total CF worship. I love the production on this album, although it is odd to hear this sort of primitive black metal with such a clean sound. It's not Dimmu Borgir sterile or anything, but it's not nearly as filthy as most bands of this ilk would go for. They do slow things down here and there, in fact the song In the Name of Nothing is a wonderful ambient interlude with some spoken vocals in the middle of it. There are a few interludes of spoken vocals on the album, all of which remind me of the song Enemy I by Enslaved.
Somehow it doesn't feel the least bit out of place in spite of the pace and feel of the song. My favorite song however would have to be Imperial Requiem. It's a slow song with little guitar and lots of bass and spoken vocals. The voice is very similar to Grutle Kjellson of Enslaved, which probably makes me like the song even more. When they get into the slow Enslaved-style weirdness they really catch my ear. Overall this is a decent album, but somehow it goes from Strange Old Brew to Monumension. I really hope for the next album they either go down the Enslaved path a bit more, or find a way to combine the two distinct sounds on this album into one. This is good stuff, but the last few songs seem like a totally different band to me. This is a bit hard to to take in, but well worth the effort.K.Huckins