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Assorted Armament - Sheer perfection - 100%

tracyterrorist, February 18th, 2009

IXXI is a Swedish black metal band with elements of thrash and rock n' roll thrown into their sound, although some die-hard metal fans would think this band is not "heavy" enough to their liking due to previous listening, their 2nd full length Assorted Armament is much of an improvement from their last self-titled release. The songs on this album are catchy as hell and definitely something I would want to witness live.

Unlike bands such as Aura Noir and Nifelheim which lean more towards the thrash metal genre, IXXI delivers their sound more in the veins of black metal and rock, but regardless of the fact that Nattdal (guitar) also happens to be in Lifelover, this band sounds far from them as well. A unique collaboration of genres, is how I would describe this band at best.

TotalScorn's vocals haven't changed from their previous release, when I first heard IXXI it took me awhile to get used to his vocals, but after a few more listens I started to grow fond of his easily-distinguishable growls and sinister laugh (as heard in some songs). There are more than just a few stand out tracks on this album, if not the whole thing since most of them are relatively short. There is a melancholic vibe in some tracks such as "In The Name of Nothing", "Imperial Requiem", and "Praise on the Iron Mountain" although it is not in the veins of suicidal black metal, there is nihilistic tension in both the music and lyrics (which are mostly spoken in these tracks). Lyrical themes don't differ much from the previous release; destruction, death of humankind, terrorism, nihilism, and all else that is optimistic in this world.

As far as production goes, the sound quality is clean and nothing recorded was too high or too low, which is something rare you find with the majority of modern underground black metal bands. There are less breakdowns and "dull" moments on this album as there were in the self-titled release, so expect a lot of headbang-worthy material from Assorted Armament, as I think this is their best release so far.