Roughly four and a half years after the release of their debut album Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth, the Italian death metal band Xpus are rising up again from their dank and poisonous catacombs to deliver a blasphemous new portrayal of discord and death. Their new album In Umbra Mortis Sedent draws upon sinister and slaughtering old-school traditions established through the wickedness of such bands as Morbid Angel, Deicide, Incantation, and Sinister, but Xpus have used these antecedents as foundations for putting their own distinctive mark in the annals of death metal with a black and heavy hand.
Compared to their first record, the new album reveals a significant advance in songcraft and execution. For want of a better word, the music sounds “immense”, not merely in the ravishing power of the sound but also in the harrowing atmosphere of looming supernatural menace and terrifying savagery that it creates. It’s tempting to use the word “majestic” to characterize these pitch-black sensations, but if there is a throne in sight within the band’s creations, it’s an edifice of skulls brutally severed from the spines of the tortured.