August 20, 2022

Xeno is a Dutch progressive/death metal band which began life in 2011 with the debut Atlas Construct, coming out in 2016. Sojourn is the band’s latest release which was released in 2020 so is not a new record by any means but is very worthy of mention despite its age. I have not heard the first record but it is now effectively a new band that has recorded Sojourn with just Ruben Willemsen on vocals and bass remaining from the original line-up with the new guys being Edwin Haan on vocals and guitar, Jasper Bruggeman on guitar, Sean Lubbersen on keyboards and Lars van Mourik on drums.

The band treads the very fine line between progressive and melodic metal with vocals being of the both clean and the dark variety of death metal. Musically though, the band is most definitely progressive metal with lots of guitars and some truly exquisite keyboards which remind of the stunning Swedish band Seventh Wonder but with a harder edge that calls to mind bands like Periphery and even Opeth. The music is complex and deep, running through many emotional shades so that you are physically and emotionally drained by the end of the recording as this is a record that draws you in makes you immediately bond with the band and album. The music is most expressive with the musicians showing a level of dexterity rarely seen and you cannot help but admire the skills that they have brought to the recording process. The clean vocals are clear, crisp and accent free with the darker growls seeming to grow as the album proceeds. Personally, I would have enjoyed the album without the death metals vocals but they are not so obtrusive and do not detract from that the band is doing or saying.

Most listeners will be drawn to the 13-minute album closing title track which is a real epic and statement of intent from Xeno and sometimes you can only stand back and admire the intensity and levels of greatness that some bands can achieve.

Sojourn

  1. Revery (1:22)
  2. In Stasis (6:00)
  3. Dusk (6:43)
  4. Epiphany (5:39)
  5. Exile (6:08)
  6. Nomad (5:47)
  7. Memories (2:29)
  8. Closure (5:30)
  9. Resurge (6:17)
  10. Uncaged (6:32)
  11. Sojourn (13:15)