Let’s take a look at Xathrites‘ fourth album.
Formed in 2005 in Iraq, the project went on hiatus the following year, then reformed in 2007 when the two members joined forces in Egypt. Still led by Alex “Lord Basher” (guitar/bass), the band will welcome several vocalists before being joined in 2022 by Whirlwind on songwriting, and released No Room For Another Wound.
Deeply rooted in a melodic yet oppressive mix of DSBM, the album features eight tracks, and is the band’s pride. We immediately feel an Old School mix which fits perfectly with No Room For Another Wound, the eponymous track, and its tortured vocals, but also creates a contrast with the very soft and clean keyboards, but Ready to Surrender returns to Black Metal’s more raw and icy tones, with notably sharp and aggressive leads. Melancholy and softness appear again in the soothing Frozen Veins, which mainly gives way to this dark but rather slow and airy instrumental, followed by My Journey To The Morgue which takes similar elements up while adding epic and heady sounds. There are also some ghostly clean vocals to accompany the ominous screams, then cavernous growl, before dark gruntings come back to haunt us until Trapped in a Coffin of Anxiety and its dissonant harmonics begin. Vocals become more oppressive and contrasted, then the rhythmic will finally explode before giving way to Shaped With Lies and its soothing sounds which only ask to become majestic before welcoming murmurs in the background. The melancholic leads drive us to the quiet Bear your Sufferings and its strangely soothing clean vocals before welcoming oppressive screams again to finally explode to guide us to Collapsed in Desperation, the last composition, which starts with some calm words. Saturation will quickly resurface to let the different voices express themselves in turn or overlap until the final storm mixing melancholy and rage.
Xathrites’ melancholy expresses itself in a very fluid way through sometimes raw, sometimes soothing riffs, but they are always overcomed by these dark and heavy vocal interventions. No Room For Another Wound will certainly leave its mark on the initiated.
Few questions to the band Xathrites.
Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band Xathrites without using the usual “Metal” labels?
Whirlwind: I don’t like filling a box. We do music. People take it the way they want. It doesn’t matter how we’re being called. Just enjoy the music. We are labeled as a DSBM band but if you listen to other bands within this style, we kinda stand out regarding the sound quality. One guy made this remark, that he would have liked the songs to be more raw and less produced, and I totally get his point. We tried to bring something more to what Xathrites have been in the past. We’re writing a new chapter for the band.
What is the link between the band’s name and the music you play?
Xathrites: The History of Xathrites’ name: Xathrites was an Assyrian leader. Whose proper name was Phraortes. He incited the Assyrians to rebel against Darius Hystaspes But unsuccessfully. As he was defeated and slain by Vomises. the general of Darius At the town of Achitu. And some say he is a demon who incites people against each other and encourages them to kill each other. So there is not much relation between the name and music, Xathrites is more like a symbol for rebellion.
No Room For Another Wound, your fourth full-length, has been out for some weeks now. How do you feel about it? Did you have some feedback?
Whirlwind: Sounds differently from the rest, people seem to like it so far, good comments in private but the social medias have not been helpful lately due to the themes of our songs, which actually makes no sense because other bands do the same or worse and they don’t get shadowbanned or prohibited to promote, so we’re trying our best to get our music out and heard against all odds and obstacles.
How did you deal with the composition process for this album? Were there any changes compared to your first releases?
Xathrites: One song (Bear your Sufferings) is really a UFO among our discography and was Whirlwind’s idea, to try and deliver a song that might be an entry point to our music for the strangers to this genre. It sounds nothing like the rest of the songs, but surely has its place within the album.
What inspires you to create your music, which is a cold melting of Old School and Atmospheric Black Metal under the banner of depressive and melancholic sounds? Same question for the lyrics.
Whirlwind: I only write music when I’m in a bad shape. I cannot force myself to write, I need it to be as sincere as possible. So often when I’m down I pick up a guitar or improvise stuff on piano, Which is actually how I wrote the first song for the new album. Which is the title track by the way. Aside from that, I tend to be a little bit ominous and not say the exact words that are on my mind. That way people can understand the words the way they want, and fill in the gaps and appropriate the lyrics according to their situation.
The band was born in Iraq, then relocated to Egypt. How did you decide to create a Metal band?
Alex: Me and Saqer Vashkigalix were friends since primary school and we were both interested in Metal music but we always loved this dark side of Metal (Black Metal) because it reflects tremendously the vibes we lived through, war and destruction. But DSBM wasn’t our thing because back then we didn’t even know it existed, so we were planning to play pure Raw Black Metal. and we composed a few songs in this genre but then there was this change… in our life, in our routine…. in people’s eyes…. there was war, and what was it like living in a ghost city. everyday experiencing the grief of a loved one’s death. Imagine walking down the street and the change was really obvious. The air was hard to breathe, the sky turned gray, and the atmosphere of depression showed on every face. It was the moment that I knew that no one would ever be happy again. At this moment my vision had turned black and white and I focused all my sadness, hate, grief and depression into my music. The riffs sounded more doomy and sad, the lyrics talked about the theme i was living and that was the change from Pure Black metal to Depressive Black metal And that was the birth of Xathrites into this kind of music.
There was a seven year gap between your second and your third album. How did you reconnect with motivation to create again?
Alex: Yes it took us 7 years to release Hope is a Mental Illness and I will share with you the reasons. It was so hard to play this kind of music due to the situation my country faced and I will mention just a few things that made it hard.
1- It was super hard to find good instruments and equipment to improve the sound I desired for the album. and I found it, it would be 10 times more expensive than in other countries.
2- There are actually 0 labels and 0 sponsors for any kind of Rock/Metal music and there are 0 live shows that can motivate us through the recording process.
3- I wasn’t settled at one place, I traveled a lot, my gear wasn’t always with me due to the war in my country.
4- we couldn’t find back then a studio that had all the equipment we needed.
5- And the most important thing was that I was in a very bad mental shape that drove me away from everything. I had to take some time and rethink everything and I’m glad things went just the way I wanted.
I’m not gonna lie and say I did it all by myself, I will be totally honest with you on this. The best motivation l had was the Xathrites community (the fans). These people are amazing. They have always supported the band, kept asking about the new album and shared the previous releases. which made me realize that these people need my music and it is my duty to get over everything and do it. and after the release they did everything to get me in a better mentality and they supported the band more than ever. They even donated for upgrading our gear !! i didn’t believe what I saw…. and since that day I made a promise to never stop and never disappear again and do my best to always be present in the scene and provide the best music, quality and communication.
Xathrites welcomes Whirlwind, and is now a three-piece band. How did it improve your creation process?
Alex: Whirlwind put a lot on the table for Xathrites, we had 1 new member before he came and we almost finished a full length, then the member wasn’t very serious. Because when we started talking about touring and taking the band to the next step, at this point he said he can’t do more than playing and composing and he is not ready for live shows. Before this member left I was already talking with Whirlwind as I saw his cover video of our mainstream song My Last Day Story. We were talking about making a new project together and we were already working on this project. But during the composing, our new member decided to leave and not finish the new album. And we decided not to use most of what we composed because it had his work and mine together and he said he just wanna leave 1 riff in the song Frozen Veins to be remembered by and I agreed.
I asked Whirlwind to do a trial on Xathrites and pause our work on the new project we were working on. He did really great! I was surprised how smooth our work flow was !! We understood each other so easily, and he understands the style of Xathrites more than any previous member so he knew exactly what to do and what not to do ! And most importantly he added his own touch, which is something I really like. Because each new member should add his soul to the work, I don’t want them to just follow my lead and make it sound mostly like Xathrites. Instead I like the musician to put his own soul and touch to it.
Do you have plans for the band’s future? Whether it is about live shows, new material, or even anything else.
Whirlwind: We’re hoping to finally bring the band on stage. The fans have been expecting it for years and we’re working to be able to do that as soon as possible. First we need to work on the album release and then we will focus on rehearsing and looking for live shows. If there are any interested promoters out there, we might need help !
Are there any musicians or bands you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, an album…
Whirlwind: Nocturnal Depression. Cheerful Depression and Inverna are the bands that got me into DSBM, but the band I followed the most was Nocturnal Depression. So I would naturally love to do anything with them.
Alex: Nocturnal Depression, Apati, Coldworld. Even though I got into the Depressive Black Metal before I knew this genre existed. As I mentioned before, I was into Black Metal. Then my composing was more Doomy mixed with Black Metal vibes. After that I started composing in this style. After that I found out about this genre and I got into it.
Last question: which bands would you love to tour with? I let you create a tour (or just a single show) with Xathrites as opener and three other bands!
Xathrites: Nocturnal Depression, Forgotten Tomb, Psychonaut 4.
That was the last question for me, so thank you very much for your time and your music, last words are yours!
Xathrites: We would like to thank you for your thoughtful interview. Especially that we’re having trouble expressing ourselves and giving updates to our fans, since we no longer have access to managing our Facebook page. Social media has been putting a lot of obstacles for us to post and promote. So thank you for this opportunity. And special thanks to our fans who had always been very supportive, we wouldn’t have gone this far without you. Please check us out on YouTube, tiktok, Instagram and if you’d like stay in touch we’re always checking our inbox firstname.lastname@example.org. Last thing we would like to say. Our attention for the next step will be focused on preparing for live shows and meeting all the fans in person.