Ensoph Rex Mundi X-ILE

Sinister-sounding electro metal is Ensoph's specialty — like an Italian answer to the Kovenant — and Rex Mundi X-ILE is the band's third album (with Cruz del Sur, at least) to make this point. Five years ago, Ensoph's noisy collision of industrial, heavy guitars and atmosphere was eerie, even threatening. With 2006's Project X-Katon and now Rex Mundi X-ILE, they've tamed the techno-beast somewhat so that now there's more fusion than collision, more tension than evil. This latest record begins with a mechanical/industrial force but quickly takes a spacey, futuristic turn to wallow in synthetic clamour, rock in groove-heavy riffs and indulge in catchy melodies and religious imagery. The ingredients are very familiar but the songs and arrangements are complex enough to stay clear of being stale, at least for a while. And for a final bonus twist, Ensoph cover Alice in Chains, managing an oddly fresh rendition of "Would?" (Cruz Del Sur)