Hailing from the North West of England, the name XENTRIX should echo in the minds of anyone who considers themselves a true connoisseur of thrash…..UK or otherwise!
One of the leading lights of the British thrash metal movement in the late 80’s and early 90’s, Xentrix were formed in 1985 by Chris Astley and went onto cause quite the commotion with the release of their cover of Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” and two formidable albums in the shape of 1989’s outstanding debut Shattered Existence and 1990’s mainstream-baiting For Whose Advantage? Overall, they sold over 500,000 records worldwide – which is no mean feat for a UK thrash band – and have gone down in history as one of the UK’s leading lights of thrash; a band who really should have been huge!
Sadly, Xentrix broke up in 1996, and while a brief return in 2005/2006 saw a small number of UK shows – and a 2nd return in 2013 at UK’s Bloodstock Festival was followed by a series of dates with Kreator and Overkill – it’s been 23 long years since we last had a full length Xentrix album in our hands. But in our hands, it now sits!
Once touted as British thrash’s answer to Metallica (not quite but bloody close), Xentrix embraced an Americanised sound and their cold, crisp riffing, mid-paced thrashing and Chris Astley’s confident bellow originally elevated them to the upper elections of the UK thrash scene. The good news, is that Xentrix circa 2019 still sound like Xentrix circa 1990 and their recognisable sound is front and centre throughout…..all be it modernised for today’s audience.
There’s a consistency at work here which all the great bands possess with Bury The Pain exhibiting a seamless flow, led by a huge grasp of melody and a penchant for delivering an endless parade of solid, bruising, thrash ditties.
There’s moments where Xentrix’s scintillating combination of Metallica and the UK’s own Onslaught (along with a little Testament thrown in for good measure), truly takes flight and it’s crystal clear that Xentrix are by no means playing catch-up with the rest of thrash metal’s renaissance crew. “The Truth Lies Buried” begins with a glorious, always necessary, semi-acoustic intro before unleashing a mid-tempo barrage of stomping riffing but it’s on the likes of “Bleeding Out”, “Let The World Burn” and the galloping riff-fest that is “Word Of Mouth” that Xentrix truly fire on all cylinders. Gloriously aggressive, these tracks positively scream confidence in your face, propelled by a killer guitar tone and no end of bulldozer riffs. Fuckin’ magnificent!
It’s fair to say that Chris Astley will always be sorely missed but with Jay Walsh (Bull-Riff Stampede) at the helm, Xentrix are in capable hands and his barks are powerful yet melodic and more than capable of matching the muscle provided by his bandmates (who include original drummer Dennis Gasser and original guitarist Kristian Havard alongside relative new boy himself, Chris Shires on bass). While a lack of diversity may irk some new listeners, we maintain that this is simply the sound of a tight unit excelling at their own perfected brand of semi-melodic, mostly mid-tempo, kick-ass THRASH! And, anyone looking for a little exemplary acoustic interplay need look no further than the equisite opening to “The One You Fear”. It goes on to kick you square in the cock when the riffs come barrelling in but you get the point.
With the legendary Andy Sneap handling production and mastering courtesy of Russ Russell, this new recording finds Xentrix sounding heavier than ever, while still retaining their signature, unmistakable, sound and fans will revel in having their beloved band truly back. Xentrix are clearly fired up and ready for the next chapter in their illustrious history to begin…..it’s time for them to bury the pain and reclaim their crown as kings of UK thrash! 8/10
XENTRIX, are set to unleash their new full-length, Bury the Pain, on June 7, 2019 in Europe and June 21, 2019 in North America.