XINR - Beyond Woodward (StormSpell Records) 2008
1. “Ever Present Angel” (3:42)
2. “Fight the Dragon” (3:38)
3. “Evil Apple” (3:27)
4. “Don't Tell me No Lies” (3:39)
5. “In Limbo” (4:05)
6. “The Hills Have Eyes” (3:22)
7. “The Ghostly Galleon” (3:27)
8. “All Hallows Eve” (5:28)
9. “The Devil's Gone” (4:22)
10. “Fall to the Prey” (3:40)
11. “My Revolution” [live] (4:06)
12. “Beyond Belief” (1:49)
13. “Xinr” (1:55)
14. “Fight the Dragon” (3:05)
15. “The Devil's Gone ” (4:53)
XINR (pronounced: ex-sinner) are a band I was totally unaware of despite having a fairly in-depth knowledge of heavy metal. This band was toiling around the metal underground in the Portland, OR area in the 80s, striving to make a name for themselves. Unfortunately, on November 30th, 1984 tragedy struck this band when their vocalist and guitarist were killed in an accident, and XINR along with them. While the band did record some demos, their only released track was the song “Ever Present Angel” on the Pacific Metal Project compilation LP. Fortunately twenty years later, Stormspell Records has put together this retrospective of XINR.
Of course most people will only be familiar with “Ever Present Angel”, if even that song. XINR’s sound is slow to mid-paced heavy metal with shrill, shrieky vocals. Their sound is deeply rooted in 70’s hard rock and metal, sounding a lot like early Cirith Ungol. I wouldn’t doubt that XINR were highly influenced by Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper as I hear elements of both bands in these demo songs. Surprisingly the sound quality of these demos is pretty darned good. Songs like “Fight of the Dragon”, “All Hallow’s Eve” and “Ghostly Galleon” are built around somewhat complex metal riffing, soaring guitar solos and the unusual vocal talents of Tony Siaz, whose sound falls somewhere between Cirith Ungol’s Tim Baker and Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty.
Surprisingly, the lyrics on this album seem to be of the Biblical variety. These guy are not the typical Stryper “Rock for the Rock” type of lyrics, but rather, in depth, spiritual, poetic lyrics, more in line with what you might expect from a band like Trouble.
The packaging on this release is excellent. The CD contains a 12-page full color insert complete with liner notes by guitarist Roger DeCarlo, tons of photos, lyrics and a killer cover art. It is also worth mentioning that “Beyond Belief” is an a cappella song sung by vocalist Tony Saiz and the last couple tracks are XINR songs are recorded by Cruella, the band that DeCarlo formed after the demise of XINR. It’s rare to discover an underground 1980’s metal band of this quality. Thanks to Stormspell for putting this gem out.