XENTRIX are playing in a couple of weeks, and although not my usual cup of tea, I’m going to see them anyway because I’ve been blessed with a ticket, so thought it a good idea to see what they sound like these days. Owning their 1990 album ‘For Whose Advantage‘ ( in the days when you had to guess from the cover whether it would be any good or not ), and never really playing it that much, I had to remind myself what it was about them that never really clicked. Thinking back to the really good UK thrash bands like SABBAT, and mid-era ONSLAUGHT who were a bit boring ( unlike here when they were brilliant ) but still had a definite homegrown style, XENTRIX made some good music but were leaning more towards the METALLICA sound, which of course was an impossible race to win, as Metallica were still releasing albums that were ten megabujillion times more popular. You just couldn’t compete. They kind of ruined it for everyone!
But anyway, I knew they’d reformed – what I didn’t realise though is that they’d released a pretty good album six months ago, 2019’s ‘Bury The Pain‘, which sounds much better than their old stuff. If anything, it sounds like early Metallica. Bands that improve with age, now that’s always a good thing. Bleeding Out is a very strong track with some great chromatic drops and turns. If you are interested you can listen to the whole album here and decide if it’s all that good.
With the surprise departure of Chris Astley from the reunion lineup ( I can’t be the only one thinking he was just too much of a nice guy to be in a thrash band? ) and his replacement with Jay Walsh, former guitarist with Blaze Bailey ( who once wrote ‘nice tits!’ on an autograph for my wife, now there’s a claim to fame ), what do the band sound like these days? Well, I can tell you they sound pretty good! Kind of the old school underground sound they always should have had, maybe. The guitars and vocals are very well done. The drums sound like they’ve been replaced with samples, or are so processed they just sound that way – but overall it sounds current, yet authentic. It still has a bit of an edge.
So they’re playing at one of those ghastly metal indoor festivals in Birmingham on the 16th February – you know the type of thing, as my friend Andy once said – ‘I can’t look….it’s all ill-fitting clothes, pentagrams, cleavages and acne’ – well, if you can stand it, you can catch them there, thankfully along with a couple of other interesting bands such as doomers WITCHSORROW, and Japanese fruitcakes ETHEREAL SIN.