XHAMAIN - NA ALMA - Reviewed By Jenny Tate ! Check it out here at this link: https://jennytate.wordpress.com/2022/02/11/xahmain-na-alma/
Introducing new album, ‘Na Alma’, from Galician symphonic Celtic metal band, Xahmain. Launched Halloween 2021, on Suspiria Records, The first of a series, entitled ‘No Ser’, ‘NA’ was engineered by the renowned Tony Lindgren. (Dimmu Borgir, Opeth, Blind Guardian, Eluvietie), at Fascination Street Studios, Sweden. (Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, Sepultura, Moonspell).
Cover art by Georgier Georgiev, from Moon Ring Design, Bulgaria.
‘NA’ comes hot on the tail of the video, for the album’s first single, ‘Sono De Inferno’.
Xahmain’s story began back in 2014, taking till 2021 to secure the line-up. Their debut show took place in 2017, headlining, along with Arcangelus. In 2018, they performed with Aqualarre and Leo Jiminez’s band, to a 350 strong crowd.
2019 brought the band to a separation, initially intended to be permanent. Then, another line-up change, in 2021, resulted in the music being re-mixed, to a sound and standard the remaining and new members agreed on. Xahmain resumed and signed a distribution, promo and management deal with SR, for ‘NA’.
Entrado – Very Celtic intro. Strong folk essence. Deeply cultural, featuring ecstatic shouts, from the feminine soul, in Galician. Very brief, but hugely atmospheric.
Eterna Soedade – Thrillingly fast opening). Retaining the Celtic flavour, but imbuing it with heavy metallic accompaniments and more powerful vocals. A meeting of male/female vocals, with the former taking a deathy/blackened form. Exhilarating melodies, delivered in a driven rhythm. Gorgeously melodic instruments, adding another dimension. It’s just a really lively, exciting track.
Tempo Atras – Similar intro, with those same exuberant Celtic instrumentals driving it forward. Fast-paced structure, again. Vocally, there’s a real freshness and zing to this. Very visually evocative of forest backdrops, at the height of summer. As much as the lyrics are sung in Galician and are therefore, indecipherable, to non-native speakers, there’s just so much power in the sound, gelling so well with the speeding rhythms and airy melodies. Really strong sound, with a lot of zest.
Tan So Trez – Beautifully soft intro, now with group vocals accompanying, in gentle tones. Moving, in a skilled segue, from fragile acoustics, to full force heavy metal and all the impact to prove it. Those edgy vocals return, in another duet of lively feminine singing and blackened masculine death growls, as the drums form a heavy, stomping backdrop, amidst the Celtic instruments. Fading, with complete cohesion.
Sono De Inverno – Solid drum hits open, onto a high octane melody, then fading into lightness and fitting feminine vocals. Masculine death vocals join, as the female vocals take on stronger power. It’s a beautifully blended sound, conveying a world of adventure. A fabulous riff solo hits, towards the 3/4 mark, bridging the track, perfectly. Always, the drums pound out the rhythm, bringing the atmosphere to the forefront. The vocal strength grows, right to the glitzy end.
Xunto Ati – A fragile intro, of soft, woodwind instrumentals, before the gentle vocals join. Forming delicately haunting melodies. Drums appearing in their same, reliable way. The woodwind emphasis here showcases the versatile potential of that style of accompaniment. Riffs joining in, at the mid-section, with characteristic flair and power. Drum sound growing heavier, with the vocals. Climbing higher, till the solo panpipes, closing.
Pleniluni Part 1 – Reflexo – Very upbeat mood to this intro, quite jig-esque. Definitely an uplifting sound. Vocals entering approximately 1/4 in, with their characteristic zest and life. Additional instruments add a further segment to the light percussion. Again, the death vocals combine with the sung ones, in an intriguingly lively form. Lots going on there, with tempo and rhythmic features. Very fulsome track, moving into the light of solo accompaniments, 3/4 in, before the vocals overtake, with the instrumentals still in the background, till the full-bodied end.
Pleniluni Part 2 – O Sen Do Mar – A more sombre, but still driven opening, then moving into another jazzy upbeat sound. Central melody, once more. Intensifying both vocal sections, even more. So much strength, in both camps. Celtic accompaniments ring out, again, with the poundingly heavy drums. This just rolls along, on a happy, rhythmic tide. More intense riffage and a complex and colourful sound, throughout. Some fabulous riffage, towards the 3/4 point. Every section just gives it all they’ve got and it shows. It’s a sound that builds, till the last.
Pleniluni Part 3 – Amencer – Delicate acoustic chords intro. Playing out a beautiful Celtic melody, before they’re overtaken, by the woodwind sections and heavy death vocals. Drums just as strong as ever. Feminine vocal melodies join. Again, it’s a very driven sound, with a lot of energy. This whole track really boosts and solidifies the rest. Blackened growls enter, amongst those gorgeously high toned accompaniments, as the pace sustains that zesty flow. Melody’s very much at its heart. A gaggle of voices join, in a harmony of colourful melody. Drums growing heavier, as that final vocal note’s perfectly sustained, at the smoothly joined up fade-out.
Overall – A beautifully colourful concoction of potent, vibrant sounds, ‘NA’ is a vastly impressive piece of flawless, creative artistry, of the highest standard. A pure joy to listen to and a perfect mood-lifter, featuring enlivening atmospherics, throughout. Fresh and original, with lively zest and zing, from start to finish.
10/10 ********** - Jenny Tate
Release Date: October 31, 2021
FFO: Nightwish, Epica, Eluveitie
Label: SUSPIRIA RECORDS
Currently, Xhamain is focused on the release of their new album Na Alma. This is the first part of a more extensive work already written in its entirety called No Ser. For this album, the Galician sextet has hired the prestigious mastering engineer Tony Lindgren ( Dimmu Borgir, Opeth, Blind Guardian, Eluveitie ...) from the world-famous Swedish studios Fascination Street ( Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, Sepultura, Moonspell ...). The cover design and all the artwork has been designed by the Bulgarian artist Georgi Georgiev from Moon Ring Design. This comes right after releasing the promotional video of the first single of the album, Soño de Inverno, which has been well received by the public. All of this is the pinnacle of a detailed process created through several years in which the band has been working hard since its inception.
At the end of 2014, Rubén Alonso, a teacher at dZetta Music Center (official Rockschool Center), was commissioned by Mariah Fosado, a student at the center, to record and arrange a song she had composed. After several tests, and reaching an agreement on the stylistic part, they decided to create a band with more components and agreed on recruiting some of the most students in the academy. Anxo Jorge joined on guitar and Michelle Dopazo on bass. At the very beginning, Brais Jorge joined on drums, but after a few months, he was replaced by Alex García, who was also a student of dZetta Music Center. Xurxo Fernández, a well-known bagpipe player and teacher in the city, also joined the band as a bagpiper, and also contributed with his skills as a keyboard player.
Having composed several songs for a couple of years, singing in Galician and still without releasing any album, Xhamain had their first performance in 2017 in front of more than 200 people, being headliners of a concert in which the group ArcangeluS also performed. A year later, they were invited, along with Aquelarre , to share the stage with Leo Jimenez's band in another great performance in front of 350 people. At that time, Anxo Jorge was no longer part of the band and had been replaced by David Zarandón. In 2019, after several unsuccessful recordings and not having achieved the level of quality that the band intended for their debut album, the group decided to take an indefinite break. At that point, David Zarandón wasn’t already part of the band and had been replaced by Jairo Daponte. In early 2021, Rubén Alonso informed the band that he had achieved a mix with the sound the the band was looking for and proposed to return to the activity. In this new line-up, Xurxo and Jairo would no longer be in the band. This very same year the band signed up with Suspiria Records for the promotion, management and distribution of the album.
Check out this video!
Check them out on Spotify and add them to your playlists!
Mariah Fosado - Vocals
Rubén Alonso – Vocals / Guitar
Alberto Fernández – Guitars
Michelle Dopazo – Bass
Alex García – Drums
Follow the band at these links: