Listenable Records [Release date 07.06.19]
To me, Xentrix has always been the leading UK thrash metal band back in the day. When it comes to having the whole package meaning musicianship, compositions, ferocity, melodic lines they came up on top of the competition.
Having two excellent releases under their belt,” Balance of Power”, “For Whose Advantage” plus the infamous “Dilute to Taste” EP due to a certain cover, and the rather good but musically adjusted at that time “Kin”, they were UK’s (and possibly Europe’s as well) finest version of americanised bay area thrash. For any newcomer that hasn’t had the chance to listen to Xentrix yet, think of Metallica, Testament with splashes of Megadeth and Heathen and mostly elements of bay area.
News of the band’s possible record comeback were treated with enthusiasm from fans but when word came out that original vocalist Chris Astley will not be at the helm, shrouds of doubt were raised whether the band would be able to suitably substitute the crucial position of the vocalist. Furthermore Will Xentrix be making a proper comeback honouring what made them special or fall victim to a more modernized direction with lesser quality material like “Scourge” was before they broke up?
Well, there is no point in keeping anyone in suspense because Xentrix has not only truly returned but they would have your head spinning long after you have concluded your listening session of their new album.
But first things first. Chris Astley will be missed surely, but Jay Walsh snuffs out all questions and doubts regarding vocals. Strong confindent voice and the singing performance is so in synch at times with Astley’s vocal patterns that even fooled some people into thinking that this is actually Chris behind the mic. I personally would’t have hoped for a better outcome in this department.
He is accompanied by original members Dennis Gasser (drums) and Kristian Havard (guitars) along with newcomer Chris Shires on bass whose respective performances not only are on A level but they also put their skills to good use when it comes to crafing compositions that absolutely retain the Xentrix trademark sound we have grown to love: Characteristic well suited melodies bundled with sharp riffs , aggressive yet technically adept.
All the 23 years break period did not make a dent in their inspiration, nor they lost sight of what ingredients are required to make a proper thrash metal record.
Songs range from mid to fast paced tempo’s packed full with sharpened riffs and riff changes where more sharpened riffs are introduced to keep things interesting, semi melodic catchy choruses, electroacoustic guitar intros, no holding back on leads and whether they are melodic or freneric they are of top quality.
There is an undeniable relentless energy flowing throughtout the entire duration of the record that keeps the listener on the edge not necessarily in terms of speed but in the overall impact and heaviness that the songs hav . Sure there are moments where you think that you can catch a breather with beloved melodic guitar intros or harmonized leads but soon afterwards you simply just end up banging your head again.
The sound is handled by Andy Sneap and Russ Russel and they do an excellent job of delivering a balanced and strong sound, modern but preserving the characteristic Xentrix sound.
Artwork is courtesy of Dan Goldsworthy (also his idea to re-introduce the company man from “For Whose Advantage”) which is exactly as it is supposed to be and is a perfect fit for this type of material. So yes Xentrix is back.
With the state of the scene now and the standards constantly raising , “Bury the Pain” puts Xentrix right back to the future. And to the ever relevant question of “when there is lack of thrash in your neighbourhood”, who you gonna call? Well, you already know the answer… ****1/2
Review by Kiriakos Lightbriner
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