"Rex Mundi X-ile"

(Cruz Del Sur Music 2009)Ensoph - Rex Mundi X-ile

Here's a quick quiz for you: suppose I were to tell you that a certain band's promo photo sees them dressing like a mash-up of Marilyn Manson and latex fetishists, and that they have stage names like N-Ikonoclast, Kktz and Next-X@nctum. Now what kind of music would you think a group like that plays? If you say industrial metal, well, you're half right, so we're obligated to give you a prize.* But, that also means you're half wrong, so take your steak knives and don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

The clues in our fun little game describe Italy's Ensoph, who rep industrial metal hard on "Rex Mundi X-ile": robotic thumping drums, layers of bottom heavy guitars, sound clips, and of course electronic effects out the yin-yang. At their core, they're not unlike a Venetian Rammstein, but they also incorporate elements of black metal, or at least the Cradle of Filth variety, taking that band's sense of symphonic grandeur and some Dani Filth sound-a-like vocals. The band also mixes in some female vocals, and presents an altogether not unlikable sound. The problem, as with much music of this nature, is the repetitiveness, and not just in individual tracks but throughout the entire album. It plays like one long thumping, pulsing, banging track, as there's little to distinguish one song from any other. There are a few exceptions; "In Cinere et Cilicio" is moody and percussive, with less emphasis on guitar pounding, and "Come in Uno Specchio" serves as an acoustic, heavily sampled outro. Oh, and there's one of the most unnecessary Alice in Chains covers ("Would?") you'll ever hear tacked onto the end.

If you're enjoying some quality time with your friendly neighborhood goths, or tailgating at Ozzfest or something, this album just might butter your toast. But as an interesting or engaging record, "Rex Mundi X-ile" doesn't cut it, being hamstrung by dubious production choices and generally unimaginative songwriting. But if Ensoph can mix up their game a bit, it's a sure bet their future albums will be more rewarding than the pop quiz in this review was.

*There is no prize. Take a joke.


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