Crossfaith: Xeno

Japan’s genre-mashers find their sweet spot

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Since the release of their first album in 2009, Crossfaith have only been getting better, and have absorbed countless influences along the way from metalcore to emo to house.

On paper, it sounds like frenetic mishmash, but on record it’s 12 tracks of complex, electronic metal done very well.

Both the opening and closing tracks, System X and Astral Heaven, are synth instrumentals, with bombastic strings and super-fast beats that wouldn’t sound out of place in a club.

Title track Xeno has vocalist Kenta Koie screaming his way through the verses before breaking into clean vocals for a hooky chorus. It turns out Crossfaith have choruses nailed, almost every song on Xeno hitting the target, which is no mean feat. They’ve also enlisted the help of some impressive guests. Beartooth’s Caleb Shomo takes a turn on vocals on the hardcore, punk-tinged Ghost In The Mirror, while Benji Webbe of Skindred makes Wildfire a bouncy slice of rap-rock. The latter half of the album is where the standout tracks are; Tears Fall and Paint It Black blend emo-inspired melodies with metalcore and electronica, and really show off how versatile Crossfaith are. Calling them one of the most promising modern metal bands is a big accolade, but it’s one they can live up to.