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With this band Xerión it was not until a full minute into the second track on this their second album "Cantares das loitas esquecidas" that I started to gather some idea of what the band sound like. You see with no prior knowledge of this Spanish folk-infused black metal band (I can now confirm) and a cover that left as many doors open as closed it has been intriguing gathering my thoughts on the nine songs contained within that seem to last a lot longer than the 47 minutes the album apparently is. Existing since 2001 and possessing a sizable number of splits and demos under their belt besides an LP in 2007 they must represent one of Spain's bigger metal acts, more an indication of the countries almost non-existent contribution to the pantheon of metal than any delusions of grandeur associated with Xerión.
Their style is a neat amalgamation of melodic black metal and winding folk influences that at times sounds similar to any number of other artists, yet at others sounds like noone else I've heard before. "A Alquimica Dexeneracion Da Ialma", one of the more black metal offerings mixes a Naglfar and Dissection concoction with the eloquent and chirpy folk leanings of Lithuanians Obtest, while I've noted a very strong Katatonia (circa "Brave Murder Day"/"Discouraged Ones" era) influence in "Onde A Victoria Agarda" and some recognition of my most beloved Windir in "Nas Verdes Fragas De Amh-Ghad-Ari". Besides all that the frightfully pleasing "Loitas Na Neboa" (actually a cover of a the little-known Taunasheim that sounds better than the original imho), beginning with emotive pipe welcoming and continuing in slower pace for some time afterwards shows what these guys are capable of were a little fine-tuning done to drive the songs onto higher levels. Throughout all of these variances there is much to enjoy in what "Cantares..." can offer, but despite all the above moments still appear that remind you of the low profile the band have presumably outside their local circle. The drumsound, especially in the otherwise-decent "A Alquimica Dexeneracion Da Ialma" can verge into the distastefully flat and insipid while the title track suffers from the same problem most bands of such an ilk endure - average levels of song construction in the amalgamation of the various parts in these 5-7 minute songs. But let's not be unduly harsh for across the record as a whole these Spaniards make a good fist of varying the tempos and feels to produce an album that in many of its nuances and more delicate moments is providing much for me to get excited about. It is worth questioning whether some of the songs could have been trimmed a little for added efficiency but such is the genuine feeling I can clearly tell throughout that there is potential in Xerión to turn this bunch of decent songs into a palette of spellbindingly sharp ones next time out. On this basis Xerión can be reckoned as one of Spain's better bands by merit, not on pure lack of numbers.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net