Xentrix - Shattered Existence (Metal Mind) 1989
1. "No Compromise"
I've long been familiar with Xentrix's second full length release "For Whose Advantage?". That album had me hooked and instantly looking for other releases from Xentrix. Unfortunately for years this album was nearly impossible to find on CD. "Shattered Existence" had been on my want list for years, and despite seeing it on Ebay on occasion, I refused to pay the ridiculous prices it went for there. Finally in 2007, Xentrix's back catalog was reissued by Roadrunner. Being a huge fan of thrash, and especially the Bay Area sound, this album was right up my alley. "Shattered Existence" is packed full of meaty riffs, fast downbeats, and shredding solos. Xentrix's sound gives a huge nod to American thrash bands like Metallica, Exodus and even a bit of Nuclear Assault. However, I also detect a hint of British punk, especially in the vocal approach of Chris Astley. His slightly raspy howl has a punk delivery that gives the music a different flavor than the aforementioned U.S. bands. Actually, the vocals remind me of another British thrash band, Detritus. As an added bonus, the limited, numbered edition released by Roadrunner/Metal Mind also includes the Ghostbusters EP as bonus tracks. (My copy is #1545/2000) The song "Ghostbusters" is indeed a remake of the well known movie soundtrack hit. It's actually a pretty amusing cover of the song complete with some melodic leads and crunchy rhythms. The eight page insert included in the reissue contains a short biography, lyrics and all the original liner notes. (thanks for the hook up Olaf.)
Xentrix - For Whose Advantage (Roadracer) 1990
Metal Mind Re-release
Yet another quality speed metal band on Roadracer. This label just ruled at one time and just seemed to have the major portion of the good speed metal and thrash bands. Xentrix is a band that I unforutnately missed in the heyday of thrash and discovered many years later. I had actually owned their 96 album "Scourge" before this one and was unimpressed and traded it off. Perhaps I didn't give it enough time, because "For Whose Advantage" is right up my alley. The overall sound and especially the vocals remind me of another European thrash band called Detritus. Fast thrash metal riffing, slightly gravely, yet understandable vocals, and plenty of fast and furious guitar solos. Despite being from the UK, it is quite obvious that Xentrix were highly influenced by the American Bay Area thrash scene of the mid-80's, as well as the rising German scene and bands like Kreator. Xentrix are yet another band to add to my ever growing thrash metal collection. Think I will be investing in more of their stuff in the near future.
I own both the original Roadrace release and the Metal Mind re-release of this title. The 2007 Metal Mind reissue is remastered and printed on a gold CD. The deluxe digi-packaging includes a 12 page booklet with a bio, lyrics and photos. The limited edition, numbered release also includes four additional tracks. My copy is 1902/2000.
Xentrix - Kin (Metal Mind) 1992
1. "The Order of Chaos"
With "Kin" I really think that Xentrix found their sound. They didn't sound like an American band, nor did they sound like their neighboring German counterparts. They sounded decisively British. "Kin" was a stylistic shift for the band as they backed off the thrash and speed elements in favor of a more traditional heavy metal sound. There are still parts of this album that sound like the old thrash metal machine. The opening moments of "The Order of Chaos" most certainly sound like same old band. However, once the opening moments of that track pass, it becomes apparent that Xentrix were taking a different direction. Basically "Kin" is to "For Whose Advantage" and "Shattered Existence", what "Master of Puppets" was to "Kill 'Em All" and "Ride the Lightning". There are a lot of mid-paced and slow, almost doomy, metal riffs on this album. The music is still heavy, but not nearly as fast as the past two albums. Some people liked the change, many hated it. Personally, I am of the group that likes it and feels that the band came into their own here. I must also make mention that this album reminds me of another British metal band called Detritus. Listening to this album I was amazed at the similarities between the two bands, both of whom were around and recording at the same time.
The 2007 Roadracer/Metal Mind reissue is remastered and printed on a gold CD. The deluxe digi-packaging includes a 12 page booklet with a bio, lyrics and photos. The limited edition, numbered release also includes four additional tracks, three demos and a b-side cut from the "Order of Chaos" single. My copy is 1774/2000.
Xentrix - Scourge (Heavy Metal Records) 1996
1. "13 Years" (6:01)
"Scourge" had actually been the first album I had heard from this band many years before writing this. I wasn't overly impressed and traded the CD away. Some time afterwards a friend sent me a copy of "For Whose Advantage". I loved that album upon first listening to it and began my search for the band's other releases. Unfortunately at the time Xentrix albums were hard to come by, so I was not able to get "Shattered Existence" and "Kin" until the 2007 Metal Mind reissues. Again, with both these albums, I found them to be quite good. They were a thrash band but had a unique sound, in my opinion. Because of this, I wondered if perhaps I hadn't given "Scourge" a proper chance. Within a few weeks I was able to score a brand new copy of "Sourge" Sadly, it is far removed for the thrash of the band's first three releases. "Scourge" is mostly mid-paced, groove based heavy metal. At times I am reminded of Pantera. "Scourge" also features a new vocalist. New vocalist Simon Gordon sounds like a cross between Phil Anselmo (Pantera) and Robb Flynn (Machine Head). The track ""Caught You Living"" even has Simon trying a bit of rap-metal. The only track that really grabbed me was "The Had that Feeds Itself", which has the band returning slightly to their upbeat, thrash metal roots. Otherwise, I am still not overly impressed but will hang onto this copy to complete the collection.