Our contemporary decadence can be exhilarating. While life is faster, more hectic, more oversaturated than probably ever before, there are upsides—playing games with friends across the world, instantly having tchotchkes delivered to your door, and so on. Of course, many decry the modern world's moral decadence and with cause. Like a sort of Potemkin village, humans have built a castle of technology on a foundation of sand, failing to plan ahead or account for ourselves as part of the muck from which we sprung.

Xenoglyph is keenly aware of this extremely tenuous existence. On their new LP Spiritfraud, the mysterious black metallers have crafted a Byzantine monstrosity. While much of black metal is fixated on some distant Nordic past warped by unhealthy nostalgia, Xenoglyph traces a meandering path from the recent past to the doomed future. Buoyed by currents of psychedelic synthesizers and propelled by eerie and unsettling black metal riffage, Spiritfraud is exploration of humans' inability to get out of our own way. This album asks whether or not we should've locked ourselves in a panopticon of our own making—Xenoglyph plays a sort of Ian Malcolm role here, warning the worst is to follow.

From the hallucinatory squalls of "Mainframe Equilibrium" to the nihilistic whorl of "Acclamations of Emptiness," Xenoglyph uses a digital palette to paint a maximalist epic. There are moments adjacent to symphonic black metal and passages of pure dissonance, but the album feels wired together by melodic throughlines and deep sorrow. Spiritfraud feels like the work of a group genuinely interested in how we got here. This is no meandering philosophic screed, but an earnest effort to deal with the consequences of the unchecked pursuit of growth for its own sake.

The title track embodies all of this. From unconventional melody to blast beat-powered waves of terror, the melancholy is palpable. Unlike other dissonant, swirling black metal of this ilk, there's a surprising tenderness here—however, that tenderness is couched in a dazzling, spiked carapace.

Says the group:

The track "Spiritfraud" is about reflecting back to simpler times, before our lives were fragmented by the abomination that is technology and the misery that comes with realizing our very spirit was counterfeited by our own inventions. It’s like technology is a game of chess with yourself, except by merely playing the game, you inevitably put yourself in checkmate.

Stream "Spiritfraud" below. The full album will infect the musical mainframe on July 15, 2022 courtesy of Translation Loss Records.

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