XAON – Face of Balaam
Classifying themselves as melodic death metal, Swiss act Xaon seem to embrace a lot of the gothic/doomy-side of things from the 1990’s scene as well on this "Face of Balaam" EP. Darker chord progressions and brooding guitar lines at times set up "When the Everlasting Gardens Die Away" in more of a Sentenced meets old Anathema way, the diverse morose to Soilwork-ish vocals providing ample contrast.
Speaking of Soilwork, Speed Strid makes a vocal appearance on the most aggressive song "Discrowned", perfect for its precise guitar picking and double kick pounding, the keyboards swirling in and out of the atmosphere. At times some of the jagged chord progressions and cyber-feel definitely reach into an older aesthetic, the drum programming adequate in its cold context – check out "The Soulcleaner" in that regard.
It’s hard to fully classify Xaon in one category – those who love death with gothic/industrial overtones that is melodic and aggressive should appreciate "Face of Balaam".