ProgCaveOgier (the PCO) and The Great Mackintosh (yes, that clown) where so impressed with the latest release from UK based Thrashmeisters Xentrix, that they both needed to yabber on about it, so here it is, some yabber about one absolutely fucking fantastic album!
Thrash metal – The home of high-octane energy and riffs, beefed up with lyrics that are rather grim, true and real than unimaginative gore content, or countless times heard hail satanisms. The genre in music that is probably the closest thing to a religious experience a denim vest metal head can have. Yes. That one. The riffstorm of absolute dominance at its very best, a thousand times heard and a watered down re-run at it’s worst. There might have been a bit of an shortage on greatness in that department for a while, but in 2019 things seem to be turning for the better again, at least if the latest albums from Inculter and Xentrix are to be believed.
And damn right, if it is up to Xentrix the drought is bloody over, right now, right here. From the very first seconds of “Bury the Pain” (their first record since the somewhat confused effort “Scourge” in 1996) the greatness sets in and will not let go until the last tune “Evil by Design” fades out to the asteroid zone of the thrashyverse where it originally came from. If the early Xentrix was obviously quite influenced by Metallica, the band of today seems to fall closer to Testament instead. Current vocalist Jay Walsh commands the riff storm a lot like certain Chuck Billy has been doing for 30 years with exceptional results and the sharp, crispy guitar tone is not a single bit short from the wonderful production Testament had on their latest, definite return to form album “Brotherhood of the Snake” a few years back.
The biggest magic of it all might still be the balance on the edge of the new and old. As usual with Thrash metal these days – decades after the scene was fresh and new – there is the aspect of the familiar in the music, but somehow Xentrix have taken the well known path and freshened it up, without turning it completely around either. “Bury the Pain” holds the listener tightly in its grip throughout, far better than Sodom, Destruction, or Kreator have been able in recent years. Even being quite long (50 minutes in total) Xentrix somehow manage to keep things interesting for whole duration of the record with careful use of melody and interludes. Maybe with one or two tunes less “Bury the Pain” would be even more effective, but I am not complaining. When the tunes are all there and arrangements carefully planned, time seems to fly by with with ease. The sheer quality of tunes like “There Will Be Consequences“, “World of Mouth” and “The One You Fear” have to offer, is something that has been totally absent from the Thrash Metal scene of recent years. Aggression, precision, dynamics and tunes – it is all here and with the artwork nodding a bit in the direction of legendary Wes Benscoter (not done by him, but equally talented Scotsman Dan Goldsworthy), the whole package simply screams of the legendary.
Thrash metal heads cannot simply go wrong with “Bury the Pain“. It is more than bound to end up in album of the year lists at the end of the year, as it is simply the best thing the genre has to offer right now. The classic names of the ballgame (Testament, Anthrax… shit even Metallica somehow) have seemed to be getting better again after quite a while, but it is the underdogs from Preston, UK who are setting the standard now by simply being leaps and bounds ahead of everybody currently in the business. They have the best of two worlds, the British riffs and Bay Area drive combined and it seems to be exactly what the world needs right now.
Rating – 5/5
The Great Mackintosh
The PCO has pretty much nailed it with the above. Being lucky enough (and old enough) myself to have lived through the great early stages of the Thrash Metal movement it is something I hold very dear. My musical tastes tend more towards the Death/Doom side of things in my dotage, but when one of the greats from back in there day rear their somewhat ugly heads my ears always prick up.
Yes, Xentrix got me right from “Shattered Existence” and the hooks never fell out. “For Whose Advantage?” is still thrashed to death literally whenever I feel the urge, and both albums are considered by me a must have for any serious Metal fan, and yes people can throw all the Metallica references at the band that they want, but to me Xentrix where a far more complex beast. The song structures and delivery always made each and every song an experience, and one that was hard to beat. The later albums “Kin” and “Scourge” had their moments, but none as solid as the previous.
News came that the singer on the first two Chris Astley (not that fucking red headed Rick Astley arseclown ha-ha) decided to call it quits for whatever reason, and then they sort of dropped off the radar and despite all my prayers to whatever sick god I choose not to believe in there was to be no more Xentrix for me, and that in itself was painful to say the least. To cut a long story short, I was wrong, and they are back, and the best part is that they sound not one iota different from back when I where a young lad. Singers can make or break a band, and fuck knows how they pulled it off but the new guy Jay Walsh sounds so much like the other guy that it’s fucking ridiculous, and that’s no detriment to him at all, it’s just bloody sheer perfection.
Yep, Xentrix are back, and in a fucking big way. Listening to this gives me goosebumps, makes me wanna run to the cupboard and grab my old patch vest, punch some dude and steal his high top sneakers, and start a giant bloody mosh pit in my lounge room and break all my furniture. This, right here, is the shit ladies and gentlefolk, and you’d better believe it. I’m not even gonna bother dissecting this album, because EVERY fucking song is a ball tearing, arse raping, Thrash fest of the highest order. And it just gets better and better as it goes along.
I’ll give you two highlight’s, “The One You Fear“, and “Evil by Design“. Most bands run out of steam by the end of an album, but not this lot. No, they save the best of the best for last, and if this doesn’t leave an imprint in your mind then you are either an idiot, or some other variant of an idiot.
Xentrix ARE back, and that’s a fact (cos I’ve said it three or four times now). Fuck me with the rough end of a plunger, if this hasn’t made my year. And all the swearing? Well you can just bloody well bugger off because, well, fuck you. Xentrix are back.
The pain is gone now. Finally I can bury it.
Rating – 5/5
Get Thrashed or get the hell out of my sight right here.