Album Name: Immortality Through Quantum Suicide
By: James Rivers
Release Date: July 17, 2020
Related Artists: Ashbringer, Code Orange, See You Next Tuesday
The atmospheric black metal band, Ashbringer, has garnered some buzz in the underground. It features some top-quality songwriting and musicianship. So, when frontman Nick Stanger announced a solo project, most people probably weren’t expecting what Xythlia delivered. Xythlia features Nick Stanger writing all the songs and doing all the instruments. The one exception is the drums since it’s a drum machine. This first album, Immortality Through Quantum Suicide, is chaotic, bizarre, and one of the most WTF releases this year.
The album opens with the song, “Death Unyielding.” This track wastes no time getting into some crazy noise. Right out of the gate, it is unrelenting, unsettling, and challenging to listen to. Even mathcore fans might have difficulty understanding what the hell is going on. The chaos lets up for a moment with a really cool, more straightforward heavy riff and a genius string bending chorus melody. It all moves so fast that before you know it, it’s back to the chaotic sounds. The following track, “To Defy Inevitability,” has a bit more to it than just frantic aggression. It does start with similar bizarre intensity. But it adds some more elements to it, showing some more depth to the material. There’s one section where it gets kind of thrashy, before returning to the discordant, technical rage. But the track reveals another hand. It shows some of the Ashbringer black metal elements in a brief, dreamy clean. Everything moves so rapidly on the album that every moment to take a breath is less than fleeting. The chaotic sounds return to end the track with an ugly whine of the guitars.
The one break on the album comes with the track, “Antidream.” At only 45 seconds long, it is the one track without any of the frenetic energy that dominates the album. The track features soft, clean guitars in a short, somber melody. It serves as a much-needed breather and displays that the album is all about intention. This chaotic sound is done on purpose. If Stanger wanted to, he could have released a pretty sounding release more in line with this track. But this is the first moment on the album where it’s made abundantly clear that the seemingly disorganized music is purposely organized to sound disorganized. Antidream leads into the track, “Ablation of Subconscious.” The opening riff sounds very much Mayhem inspired. It’s drawn out, sinister, and dramatic. This track is dizzying, yet it has more of a breather than any of the previous tracks. The dramatic cymbal hits give the listener another brief moment before the ear assault resumes. There’s a really cool section here with a quick clean riff on top of these crazy blast beats. It’s an interesting juxtaposition and a notable moment from the track. This song features more of the crazy sounds lathered all over the album. Towards the end there’s a crazy sounding riff that almost sounds like a bunch of tech/computer noises as it moves up the scale.
The song, “Flesh Prison,” starts out with some chaotic shredding. But this song has more of a hardcore vibe to it. It sounds like Code Orange on crack. The song has some really cool parts, such as a brief part where the guitar kind of sounds out of tune. This song features some crazy guitar shredding and some impossible double bass. It’s the crazy that is expected at this point on the album. But it still manages to sound different, even if it is altering the bizarre sound in minor ways. Tracks like, “Post-Ironic Indoctrination,” really pack a punch. It is a short instrumental track that starts out with some echo guitar reverb of some sort. The song then launches into the intense cacophony of sounds that shows that not even short instrumentals are safe from the audible onslaught of this album. This track perfectly displays the chaos that characterizes this album and can only be simply described as “some crazy-ass-shit.” The album soon moves into the song, “The Eye Bath.” It begins with crazy, syncopated noise sounds coming from guitar effects. This track features a lot of scale shredding and doesn’t let up on the energy. There are some of the black metal elements from earlier that resurface very briefly. What makes this song one of my favorites is the main riff. It’s basically just some pitchshifter/guitar effects that goes up the scale and then down the scale. It sounds like something out of an old cartoon. It’s hilarious and awesome all at the same time.
The final track, “Fester in the Nether,” breaks expectations. At 4:45, this track is the longest on the album and should be a hint that it is something different. This entire album’s unrelenting fury ends with a track that starts off with some nice cleans in a more comprehensible groove. It dials up a bit more after that, but still remains relatively normal, which by this point is weird. It gradually becomes a bit more discordant as the song goes on. In a sense, this song melds some of the black metal clean elements with the chaos in a more digestible way. As the song ends, it seems to callback to some of the earlier songs on the album. The crazy up/down riff from The Eye Bath makes a reappearance. It ties everything together and seems to show that there was some order to all this madness. The song ends as it goes into full chaos mode. This album ending is as abrupt as its beginning.
It’s hard to really describe the sound of this album other than adjectives, such as bizarre, chaos, noise, disorder, crazy, and weird. It is impressive to think that someone sat down and put all this together. Even among all the noisy chaos, nothing seems out of sync. The drums and guitars seem to be working together to produce this ridiculous sound. It doesn’t sound like anything was recorded out of time or out of place. It just sounds dense and ferocious. It does leave a bit more to be desired though. Perhaps a bit more musical maturity, like on Fester in the Nether, is where Xythlia’s headed. Nevertheless, this is still a great album. If you’re looking for something weird, challenging, or intense to listen to, look no further than Xythlia.