Xerion Nocturnal Misanthropia (2007)

I originally got this album as a promo when it first came out about ten years ago. I enjoyed it enough to purchase a copy and to look forward to future releases by the band. Xerion hails from Silesia in NW Spain, the same region that birthed General Francisco Franco. Xerion prefers simple, rugged, durable riffs and songs that assemble into a solid, functional album.

The riffs on this album tend to be simple minor key affairs, although through the middle of the album the band generates some longer melodic themes. There is a strong sense of narrative development within the songs – the album starts with a simple, single themed song that mournfully heralds the setting of the sun and the terrors that are conjured by the beginning of the night. The songs become longer and more complex through the middle of the album as the full gamut of the occulted power of darkness is explored. The album closes with another simple, single themed song that brings the album full circle as the music revels in the triumph of the dark powers unleashed. The band struggles to reliably end songs, however, and often end up just trailing songs off in lieu of a proper end; while this can add an atmosphere of occulted midnight mystery, repeated usage suggests lack of skill rather than intent. Songs are generally constructed in two ways – simplified fugal style where one instrumental voice introduces the theme which is then explored by other instrument voices, and binary form with a main theme and a counter theme. Sometimes the two composition styles are combined.

Why review a ten year old album? Well, first off, because it is a pretty good album. Second, because there is a question about band development that needs to be examined. Xerion put out a strong first album. Their subsequent albums were terrible shoe-gaze hipster metal. Long, pointless songs with mushy riffs and zero direction. That a band got lucky and pulled one good album out of their ass is a lazy, and often incorrect, way to look at it. A better answer is that musicians will tend to write music for the people who pay them. Be it the Catholic Church (Bach), King Ludwig (Wagner), or Xerion (hipsters who were flooding metal at the time.) In the days of ‘classical’ music, only a few of the wealthy elite had the money to sponsor the best musicians and this gave rise to a fierce competition between composers to secure jobs as court composers. The best tended to rise to the top because the upper crust of society was fairly musically literate and would brook nothing less than the best. With the democratization of culture during the industrial revolution, lesser music became profitable because the masses suddenly had economic clout… would you rather have $100,000 from one dude or $1 each from a million people?

It seems that now the balance of power is tipping yet again. With the advent of streaming services, the mass of people are essentially not paying for music. Twenty years ago you’d have to sell at least a million albums to get on the Billboard top 10, now a hundred thousand will suffice. This gives Hessians the upper hand – we demand music that is more than just disposable radio fare, we love music that can be listened to again and again. Let us encourage that quality of music. On platforms such as Bandcamp, you can pay as much as you wish for an album. I encourage everyone to pay as much as you can for quality music when given the option. If Hessians can become the noble, elite benefactors of metal, then we are one step closer to a glorious rebirth of quality music.

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12 thoughts on “Xerion Nocturnal Misanthropia (2007)”

  1. Mister Syre says:

    Metal needs more benefactors and less labels acting as banks. I always felt like managers could benefit the most from this downfall. They get the raw talent, they get the means of manfucfacture/distribution on the other hand but they handle it all and reap the benefits. Greater bands would link themselves to the better managers and labels qould beg for them to collaborate. It was a bit like that in the 40s/50s before big corporations got involved.

    1. Charles Stuart says:

      With the death of centralized control and means of production within the music industry, I’m wondering if something like akin to the Medieval guild system might emerge. A nexus of discerning patrons would be able to assemble talented managers who would in turn be able to gather collections of talented bands.

      I’m laughing a bit at the thought of some wealthy Hessian paying Incantation or Immortal or some such band to just live in a cottage on his manor and compose albums while occasionally playing live shows for social gatherings with his friends and acquaintances.

  2. Become Just B says:

    Yeah

  3. Reduced Without Any Effort says:

    It’s Galicia. Silesia is in central Europe.

    1. Charles Stuart says:

      Yep, my mistake. Clearly they are not from southern Poland. In fact, Silesia is not too far from the other Galicia in E. Europe.

  4. death metal slug says:

    Assume that artists are only expected to create worthwhile pieces so long as they are monetarily compensated

    What about taxing the retard masses shitless and having the elites (in government positions) fund worthwhile art with the money, since the average idiot is incapable of making good decisions about what he consumes? Isn’t that the best compromise between the old system and contemporary technology?

    1. Charles Stuart says:

      I don’t think that making metal more like the Post Office and Amtrack is the best idea. “If you like your band, you can keep your band.”

      1. death metal slug says:

        But wealthy individuals aren’t doing much for art, they just buy twee bullshit and give hipster artists lousy standards toward which to aim

        Most people can’t tell worthwhile art from garbage if it crawled up their leg and nibbled their balls, so how are we going to save all of their poor retarded souls without forcing good music on them?

        1. Charles Stuart says:

          Why force art on the peasants? Let them eat Beyonce. The elite have always had their art and the peasants have had theirs (at least to a large degree, not total separation.)

          The wealthy do patronize good art – symphonies around the world would not survive without private donation. Look at any program for an orchestra and you’ll see a shitload of stupid ‘pops’ performances of Beatles, etc. music. The key here is age. Old people tend to have far more money than young people.

          Metal from Black Sabbath to Incantation was mainly a working-class affair and attracted largely a working class audience. Only with the rise of black metal did the upper crusts start to become involved. Knowing what we know about the heritability of IQ, working class kids will probably grow up to be working class themselves and never have a lot of money; some will, because of natural variance, but most won’t.

          Consider that most people under 30 are poor – just starting to work their way up the career ladder, probably starting families, and all that business. The oldest black metal fans are probably into their 50s now, the age at which people tend to really accumulate more wealth. Give it some time and Hessians will have some substantial monetary power – we can only hope that their judgement and taste remain intact.

          I’m still waiting for a really wealthy Hessian to straight up BUY a metal band. Fuck, if I had tens of millions of dollars I’d pay good money to have several classic bands live in the servants quarters and be my court composers and to play at my parties. “For tonight’s entertainment we have Enslaved playing Vikingligr Veldi in its entirety. Enjoy the or d’ouvres and cocktails.”

  5. what I wanna know is how they rigged up a tremolo arm on a goddamn recorder for the intro

    1. I'm black says:

      It’s the pre-1978 Kahler model 1488 locking reel-to-reel vibrato system. Very rare.

  6. Belisario says:

    As far as I know the core of the line-up is a couple of music teachers, who create their music as a secondary, almost not for profit activity, like most metal bands in Spain, which means they do the music they happen to like. They’ve never been on a big nor mid-size label, so my guess is that at some point they found other styles more “interesting” than their original one. That is actually not so uncommon in veteran metal bands.

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