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True Bay Area Black Metal - 90%

Roffle_the_Thrashard, January 13th, 2015

I met my friend R (rhythm guitarist of Xenotaph) in the summer of 2014. He showed me this old, beat up guitar of his that had but one pickup on it. While we were sitting around, he played a few riffs of his and a slow somber acoustic-like melody. It got stuck in my head. It turns out that it was the opening melody of "Violation," one the songs on Vitae Iactura. He never told me this was one of his band's songs at the time, but I decided to look up his band's Bandcamp page. Needless to say, I was extremely impressed.

Many black metal bands of today are constantly being compared to bands such as Darkthrone, Burzum, Mayhem, Bathory, etc. I believe that Xenotaph have material on this EP that is comparable to these bands and their related artists. I can feel the same raw and intense energy that albums like "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" and "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" have, as I did with "Vitae Iactura." You can really tell that the members of Xenotaph who played on his EP were heavily influenced by these monumental bands.

The band's force is graspable and bearable, yet still very powerful, and that is something that few bands can put into their music. Some riffs do feel repeated, such as the middle interlude of "Vitae Iactura" and the beginning of "Only Know." The songs have nice contrasts within themselves and can haunt you for days as you sit and contemplate them. You can truly feel the dry coldness of each number as it plays.

The guitar playing done by R and Z is very good. It seems as if they are on the same mental wave-length and they sound very tight. Even on loose and and legato riffs, they hold it together. The bass tones of have been promptly left out, which disappoints me, but black metal was never known for grade A production. As a drummer however, my hat is off to G. The manner in which he pounds out the structure of these songs is amazing. Even when playing fast and relentlessly, he never loses control, and his double bass pedal rhythms are spot-on. The best tracks here are "Vitae Iactura" and "Violation."

All in all, Vitae Iactura is a fantastic EP. If this band improves its playing even more than what was forcefully demonstrated here, then they just might release a perfect album. I do think that 7:45 was a bit too much for an outro however, but it shows that these men are dedicated to their trade. Other than that, I am amazed and quite satisfied. All hail Xenotaph!