I'm not sure which entries I prefer in this kind of posts - the ones I saw coming or the ones I didn't. Regardless, Xoth's entry has a bit of both. When they dropped Exogalactic just a short while ago and I heard that the power metal and progressive rock influences spoke even louder than on Interdimensional Invocations, I was delighted. They created this neo-classical take on progressive death metal that is a special pleasure for a prog nerd like myself, who will always crave some over the top, groovy brightness in their music.
Lo and behold, that brightness and groove are resplendent across the selections that Xoth have made here, from bass-slap heavy releases, through danceable classics, and all the way to progressive stalwarts. Whatever the selection seems to be, Xoth's penchant for intricacy melded with light-hearted complexity and attack is all over this wonderful our entry in our The Anatomy Of series. Head on down to sample it for yourself and don't forget to listen to Exogalactic; put bluntly, it fucking rules.
Ben Bennett - Bass
Victor Bailey – Kid Logic
This album taught me how to slap and pop more than octaves, and the beauty of playing 6ths when the time is right. RIP Mr. Bailey, the greatest Bass teacher that ever lived. Top track “Bottoms Up”.
Graham Central Station - Now Do U Wanta Dance
One word EARTHQUAKE!!!!! How can I slap a whole album and not give respect to the OG of the speed chopper style, Larry Graham? This man taught me how to play like a criminal, and this album inspired all the old-school slap lines on the album.
Tyler Sturgill - Guitar and Vocals
Lost Horizon - Awakening The World
Some things just grace this mortal coil briefly but will leave a big impact. Lost Horizon came and went in the early 2000s with two of the most solid power metal albums ever. I’ve always loved everything about this album: the untouchable vocals, the heavy riffs, melodic leads, perfect song structures, cosmic atmosphere, and a commitment to the theme. This album is yet to be topped in my opinion.
Shawn Lane - Powers of Ten
When I think of my favorite guitar players, Shawn Lane always comes out on top. From soulful whammy bar tinged melodies, to absolutely inhuman shredding, his control of music and the instrument was unparalleled. He is the reason I donned the floyd rose, I immediately connected with it and it changed my playing forever. The compositions on this album are very unique and hard to describe, I love it.
Woody Adler - Guitar
Bal-Sagoth - Atlantis Ascendant
Before Xoth was founded, Tyler and I bonded over our mutual love of Bal-Sagoth, and their unique and otherworldly sound has been an essential influence since we began writing music together. Atlantis Ascendant captures Bal-Sagoth at their most cinematic, and I’ve always loved how the instrumentals and lyrics combine to weave a unique storytelling atmosphere.
Symphony X - V: The New Mythology Suite
In Xoth we always try to balance the technical elements with catchy melodies and hooks for listeners to latch on to, and Symphony X is a huge inspiration as a prog band that knows how to write big, memorable choruses. I listened to this album a lot during the early stages of writing Exogalactic, and was always impressed by how they manage to fit in parts that excite the theory nerd in me while still sounding musical. I also have to shout out Michael Romeo as one of my biggest guitar influences, his playing on this album is S tier shred!
Jeremy Salvo - Drums
Death - Symbolic
Gene Hoglan’s ride/propeller/cannon shell playing on this album fundamentally changed the way I think about drumming. As a somewhat ambidextrous player, two rides immediately made sense to me and unlocked much of my creativity. Symbolic has led me to many other drummers with great ride playing including Richard Christy, Trym Torson, Peter Wildoer, and Darkside.
Helloween - Better Than Raw
Realizing that our music could benefit from aspects of power/heavy metal drumming let me to intensely study bands like Running Wild, Lost Horizon, and Helloween. Better Than Raw has been a favorite since it came out in 1998 and Uli Kusch’s drumming occurs to me as a bridge between Alex Van Halen (another big influence) and the more extreme yet polished metal that was emerging around this time. Listening to Helloween’s other albums and studying each drummer’s unique way of delivering great performances among lots of lead guitars helped me develop my approach to the songs that would become Exogalactic.
Tyler and Jeremy
Rush - Power Windows
Many moons ago I was chilling with our co-lyricist Mike and he asked if I liked 80s Rush. I flashed back to the Rush episode of VH1 Behind the Music, where all of the musicians on their were talking shit on this era. He quickly dispelled those false statements by putting on “Marathon.” I was lied to all along, this is the best Rush album. This is the most dialed in thing they ever put out. It is epic, melodic, technical, and well written. This album provided a lot of inspiration for the writing of the album and we used the drum production as a reference. Highly under-rated and often over-hated.