Chthe’ilist – Passage into the Xexanotth EP Review

Cthulu-worshipping metalheads Chthe’ilist just released a new EP this past Friday. While the release only contains two tracks, said content originates from the group’s earlier days – much to the appraise of long time fans.

Chthe’ilist formed back in 2010 but have made a relatively slow crawl into the scene. The Montreal-native group have so far released a demo and a full-length record titled Le Dérnier Crepuscule, with the third addition to their discography being the aforementioned EP. While they do not have that much content to show for their 8 year history, their full-length debut made a fairly big splash in the underground. The record is praised by metal fans for being of generally solid quality and uniquely-themed.

The group’s music centers around the otherworldly Cthulu monster crafted by famous author H.P. Lovecraft. While the subject matter has been used within metal music before, most notably on Metallica’s popular instrumental “The Call of Ktulu”, Chthe’ilist is the only group to my knowledge that features this theme so predominately within their music.

The Cthulu is a leviathan creature which is described to be similar to an octopus-dragon hybrid that ominously roams the ocean depths. The monster is said to be worshipped as a sort-of deity by relative cultists. Furthermore, the beast is undoubtedly the most popular legend created by H.P. Lovecraft and the universe to which these entities pertain to has been rightfully coined as the “Cthulu Mythos”. The beast in question was first featured within a short story published in a 1928 issue of the American pulp fiction magazine Weird Tales and has since grown to be a popular legend.

Chthe’ilist’s music operates in alignment with this Lovecraftian horror. Their music features samples of what can only be described as “underwater octopus noises” which manage to set an appropriate tone. The vocal segments are often layered on top of one-another and are produced to give off a muffled effect, as if they are being delivered from beneath the watery depths. The group otherwise plays a fairly standard yet diverse style of death metal which offers plenty of blast beat sections, heavy riffs, and an occasional slower section which manages to change up their sound. Below is a closer look at the two tracks on this EP.

Passage into the Xexanotth

This track features a fairly diverse range of qualities. The song opens with a slower, more mid-tempo riff that builds up nicely along with a simple drum beat that manages to settle the listener into the track. Following this, a very short-lived but hard-hitting bass section serves as the off-shooting tentacle that capsizes our 18th century pirate ship and sends all deckhands underwater. We seem to be the only remaining survivor from this seemingly random incident, but before we can gather our senses and raise our heads above the water, something grabs us from the depths below. We aren’t really scared, however, because we know we’re in for ride through the mystical ocean currents as we ride atop of the very Cthulu himself. Blast beats and muffled screams await us below…

“Passage into the Xexanotth” eventually transitions into a very ominous and rhythmic section that teeters off until the song’s completion. While the track features its fair share of razor fast sections that pack a punch, the meat and potatoes of the tune really come from this moody and lurking second half. The ominous-sounding riff couples extremely well with the harsh and non-descript vocal segments to create a very lurking and sluggish yet forward-moving atmosphere which is quite delightful to the ears.
The track itself is of early origin and dates back before the release of the group’s debut LP Le Dérnier Crepuscule. Fans heavily interested with the group will undoubtedly be interested in this song as it shines light on to an older and less tied-down version of the band prior to their official release and subsequent definition of style.

Beneath the Crypts

This track is a cover of a song by Crematory, a Swedish death metal group that was active for a few short years between 1989 and 1993. Inherently I don’t have much to say about the track other than that it is a great cover. The most notable element to Chthe’ilist’s version of the song is their inclusion of another “octopus” sample at the beginning of the song.

To those unfamiliar with death metal, a common addition to a song’s introduction is a prolonged scream/growl from the vocalist which serves to help build up the track, and it also sounds good, of course. Chthe’ilist replaces this common technique with a brooding and bubbly growl that can only be presumed to be from the great Cthulu himself. This spin on the original track really offers a certain uniqueness and further proves the success of the group’s Cthulu-worshipping style in accordance with a metal background.


Passage into the Xexanotth is a strong addition to Chthe’ilist’s short discography and will help satiate fans for a while until the group releases any more material. Join the Cthulu-worshipping cultists on the beachside. Waves splash against your bowed head. Cthulu lurks beyond…

Verdict: 9.8/10

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