29 July 2014 (released)
25 August 2014
“This city here is like an open sewer full of filth and scum!” – the scornful words expressed at the end of the single ‘Polar Ice’ by an unknown civilian. The city in question is unrevealed but the rather morose attitude held by the interviewee forms the foundational flux of Xombie’s ‘Capital X’ – an album about battling and overcoming urban blight. Fortunately for the agitated gentleman, the New York City-based, 5-piece band claim to know what it takes to “win big” in “the game” that is inner-city existential fulfilment, but do they outline their experiences with fluency?
The seven-song ‘Capital X’ album attempts to amalgamate high-octane, shoot from the hip metal with rap-like metaphorical lyricism. Outspoken and outlandish, ‘Capital X’ presents complex ideologies and biographical personal experiences delivered with forcefulness over unbridled sounds. Relying largely on figurative meaning, lead vocalist Adam Cruz roars his prickly, woebegone views, flowing neatly to the ever-changing rhythms of the tracks, particularly ‘Rotten Apple’ and ‘Rock Bottom’.
Aptly named “Hood Metal”, very few musical stones are left unturned as Xombie X rain down colossal, distorted tunes that emphasise the ferociousness of..well…everything about the band. Naturally, Xombie unleash two lead guitars which provides the songs with more character and you can hear each’s distinctive intonation driving the anarchic melodies. Emphatic drums dominate the percussions, and despite the bullish, fiery nature of the material, they remain uncharacteristically metrical compared to some of the rather more extreme versions of metal musicianship. Xombie aren’t doing anything entirely different compared to the likes of Critical Bill, Linkin Park or even Anthrax, but they are doing what they do well and getting their sobering subjects across decisively.
In the end, ‘Capital X’ boisterous approach is the most intriguing aspect about the album. Even a song about a painful relationship such as ‘Miss Behave’ is spat venomously rather than slavered regretfully. Xombie demonstrate that they don’t really do slow tempo despondence, instead opting to maintain the rapcore intensity that they’ve near perfected. Glumness has rarely sounded so entertaining.