"Xgodx" the Excellent 2nd Studio Album by Japanese Melodic Death Metal Band Serpent
The front album cover for XGODX
Track Listing for the album XGODX
- Cannibalistic Dream
- Devil in a Dream
- Plastic Arts
- Suicide Diary
- Funeral of Light
XGODX the Continuing Musical Journey of Japan’s Serpent
Author’s note: as I began listening to this album XGODX in 2019, I am getting really into this masterpiece of melodic death metal. The album begins with a slow, dark, and somber mood but do not worry! What you will hear is an album of melodic death metal musical brilliance!
Kobe Japan’s Serpent took a musical journey of their own and in so doing, their 2nd full length album "xGODx" was released in February 2008. Serpent is one of those bands that does not release albums very often but when they do, their work is superb! The first song I listened to from this album is the one called Plastic Arts. Vocalist Ken switches back and forth between the rough vocal growl and the lower, raspier vocal sound. You could easily say that the lower voice sounds like something Chris Barnes would have done in the early 1990’s. But you cannot compare Serpent to Cannibal Corpse in terms of melody. Serpent clearly has that other band beat decisively in that category. Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure that Barnes would be proud to hear someone else experimenting vocally like that. As of 2018 the status of Serpent is unknown but the music is no less brilliant than when the first time I ever heard these guys even if their vocals are far from stellar.
Why Should Music Fans Even Listen to the Band Serpent?
The usual question that may come up is why should we (the fans) even listen to this band when the vocals are less than stellar? I’ve learned that melody in music is what attracts fans (at least fans in Europe). And Serpent infuses lots of melody in their music unlike the 1980’s and 1990’s US death metal bands that primarily focus on heaviness and speed.
The melody in xGODx is very awesome
The album begins with the Gothic influenced title track xGODx. It has piano playing in it. Then comes the extremely melodic masterpiece Cannibalistic Dream. It is about someone who is feeling sick on the inside because of the existence of the Reaper. This creature has been on the covers of the albums by Children of Bodom. As Ken growls, we hear the lyrics “my heart is wrenched with this dull red life flowing out.” He is referring to the liquid called blood which sustains human life. Basically the song is about someone that is having a very bad dream in which he is basically being eaten from the inside out. The guitar work slowly builds up until there is a change in the riffing.
THIS is the kind of melody that is absent from American death metal bands so Japan has the upper hand when it comes to this genre. It may be hard for some fans to believe this but trust me: give the band Serpent a listen and you’ll see the brilliance of these guys.
The Gothic Influenced Song "xGODx"
How Great Is The Album XGODX?
Severance has a sort of piano/keyboard part in it that sounds like Finnish melodic death metal veterans Kalmah. And then, I hear a little bit of Cradle of Filth as the atmospheric sound kicks in. These Japanese guys sure know how to create a song that has several influences! The sky is black and there is rain coming down. The person is feeling as if his soul has some kind of disease and to him, words have no meaning. His desires have long been suppressed and he is in a state of deep depression. This is a subject covered by many melodic death metal bands and it seems like the heavy metal market is over-saturated with bands like Serpent. The other thing is that suicide is a big problem in Japan and you wonder whether this band has lyrical themes like this to bring up a certain point or not. However, let's not forget to mention the song Plastic Arts, one of the best songs of their career. This was the song that got me into the album. It has both raspy and rough vocals, plus the excellent riffing. This song should put to rest the idea that Japan doesn't have good heavy metal songs or bands because they sure do! Even with the gloomy lyrical content of the song, this one remains a favorite of mine even almost 10 years later.
The Extremely Melodic Song "Cannibalistic Dream"
Ken's vocals are hard to understand but this is still a very good album
As usual, Ken’s very hard to understand vocal growls means that the album rating will lose at least 15 points. Which means that this album will more than likely get no higher than 85 points out of 100. Slave features some guitar work that is similar to the song Bloody Gates on the band’s previous work. The song also features some use of the wah pedal, something that Metallica’s Kirk Hammett used a lot in the 1980’s. Suicide Diary has a clean vocal part in it, something that Sweden’s In Flames would use in their albums such as Colony and Clayman. The song is about someone that wants to end his own life as night falls and the sky becomes black and grey. He wonders what he was born for and what his purpose in this life is. Ken says: “my existence has no meaning.” The end of the song features some piano as the electric guitar slows down and gets into the background. Clot is a song about someone whose sins come back to him when he closes his eyes. His body is scarred and he eventually sees his past, future, and solitude burst and go away. He is stuck in a room awaiting his demise. The song still has melody even though it is one of the album’s weaker songs. This song is an explanation of one of the aspects of human nature and that is the fact that humans have always been sinners. The phrase nobody’s perfect applies here.
Better Album: xGODx or Cradle of Insanity
Which One of These Albums By Serpent Is the Better One?
"Plastic Arts" One of the Best Songs in the Band's Career
How does Serpent stand out as a band: They are really phenomenal!
Serpent is a better band than Finland’s The Wake and they deserve recognition. However, since Japanese metal bands don’t really get much exposure outside their country, they will sadly never be recognized as one of the great nations of the world especially for the melodic death metal genre. "xGODx" is not as good as the album Cradle of Insanity but it’s pretty close.
The Song Called Slave
Rate the Album xGODx
The Song Called Severance
© 2016 Ara Vahanian