Space beast Xenoglyph prophesy digital sentience, humanity’s end on cosmic behemoth ‘Spiritfraud’

If it’s not every day that some sort of machinery or technology shits its pants and makes me more confident that machines never truly will take over the world. You know how many times I try to put my debt card into a chip reader and it fails spectacularly and I have to spend minutes inserting and reinserting? That came out wrong. How many times does my modem fail out? It’s constant.

That’s not to suggest it can’t happen, and a few visits with “Spiritfraud,” the new opus from intergalactic black metal entity Xenoglyph might have you wondering if your days are numbered. The duo behind this shadowy beast explores a reality where digital creatures come to life and desire for the existence that humans enjoy/bastardize, so they aim to steal our dreams. Humankind then must grapple with whether fighting a losing battle or disappearing gracefully is the better choice. Musically, the band delves into cosmic realms of black metal, freezing your cells, warping your wind, and taking you on this adventure that only can end in misery and defeat.  

“Mainframe Equilibrium” starts with guitars dawning, the sounds washing over and bringing chilled numbness, the growls squashing bowels. Atmospheric pressure unloads as the black metal elements multiply, melody becomes a bigger factor, and everything feels gigantic. That heads deeper into the stars, cascading heavily and trickling into oblivion. The title track explores the elements before guitars chug in, and lurching motions make for a devious ride. Melody and drama intertwine as chaos eats away, and everything is pummeled as the vocals tear into wounds. Strong energy ignites as the spirit grows more formidable, then all the elements rush with force before synth joins and fades with it all. “Cyphon” pops open and immediately trudges through everything, the playing feeling both mystical and fog-covered, the drums tearing through the veil. The tempo gets darker as a proggy finish is applied, guitars space out, and the playing disappears in the sky.

“Iconocide” begins in strange waters as it gets more cosmic, and growls push through as sinister riffs join the fray. The drums maul as the pressure gets heavier, sooty guitars scar, and voices swirl in the air as the attitude mangles dangerously. Then the vibe gets wonderfully majestic before the final hammer drops. “Nightshade Reverie” rushes in as shrieks splash, and a thick mist moves its way in and coats faces with moisture. The storming punishes as keys glow and the blackness multiplies, drubbing and chewing away before fading. Closer “Acclamations of Emptiness” starts with a long stretch as the ambiance leans in and expands itself, and then vile growls explode as fire streaks the skies. It feels like we’re headed even deeper into the universe as the playing tricks your mind, paving the way for grittier moods, voices that swirl in the air, and everything bleeding into dust.

A lot of people are wondering how things possibly can get worse on this planet, and Xenoglyph have the apocalyptic answer with “Spiritfraud.” Chaos has spread across the globe, and in this country in particular, we’re being fed into a time machine but also potentially must do battle with technology with our new overlords once they become sentient. This is terrifying both musically and psychologically, and we can’t say we haven’t been warned about what’s ahead for us.  

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