METAL FOR YOUR GYM EAR: Otargos “Xeno Kaos”

Coming across a new band as a metalhead is the music equivalent of a paleontologist finding actual Godzilla fossils. No matter what kind of day you are having, finding a new band can make everything a little bit better. So at 6:40am I get a tweet about this band from France called Otargos. And you know how we love our French Metal, and French Horror films. And this new album from Otargos is the all the nastiness of the French metal scene and brutality of the French horror films thrown together. Basically this gives us a French inspired hard on.

Strange that we are just hearing about this group because they’ve enjoyed a good 15 year career already in their respective homeland and throughout Europe. But the timing could not have been more perfect as their latest album Xeno Kaos, was just released into the wild last week. And with our top ten list coming up, we think this has a great chance of being on that list. WHY?

Well it’s simple. A 34 minute full on assault of down-tuned locomotive-esq chugging pasted over a relentless drummer heavily addicted to double bass, with vocals dark and murderous, but clear enough to make out the lyrics. In between all this is very crafty production, with slices of industrial noise and ambiance to offset the all out audio beatdown. The album never hangs out in BlastbeatVille too long, with a nice variety of tempos and switches to move things along. And to us this is where Otargos is smart. Making a great album short enough to hold your attention but leave you wanting more. Tracks like “Phase Shifters” and “Dominatrix” recall elements of fellow Frenchmen Gojira at times, but you’ll hear a variety of influences from this group. Whether it’s older Morbid Angel or Behemoth, the band is pointing to who came before them but has one foot firmly planted in their own sound as well.

While the album does occasionally feel like it repeats the simplistic riff structure a bit too often (you can only chug one note so much before it feels repetitive), the band makes sure to switch tempos up and pour on the glitchy production edits at the right time. Xeno Kaos might not break new ground necessarily, but it is modern and brutal enough to stand out from an over populated crowd of clones. It’s a smart, evil album that gets to the point. Less flash and more substance.

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