Review Summary: Welcome back lads
Formed in 1985 by guitarist and singer Chris Astley, Xentrix was part of the '80s UK thrash generation that included bands such as Sabbat, Onslaught or Acid Reign, a generation that always stood in the shadow of the most popular US and Teutonic thrash metal scenes, that near monopolized the genre. With a Bay Area driven sound, the band's debut Shattered Existence
, had a strong acceptance in Europe that welcomed Xentrix as one of the most promising bands within the genre. A year later, the band released the humorous but perfectly expendable single Ghost Busters
, a metal version of the popular Ray Parker Jr. hit song, which was part of their live repertoire at the time. Although artistically irrelevant, this cover helped the band to become more popular in Europe, thus raising expectations for Xentrix's sophomore For Whose Advantage？
, released in 1990. For Whose Advantage？
showed a more polished and sophisticated side, with the peculiarity of having an artwork that escaped the thrash canons of that time, with an explicit political message related to urban capitalism. These first two albums marked their brief peak, as unfortunately the band's next releases were two flops that inevitably led to the end of the band in 1996.
23 years later, when we least expected it, the Brits return with Bury the Pain
the band's fifth album and the first of the new millennium. The album's artwork reveals that the once-confident business man of 1990 now appears shattered, being an obvious political criticism of the capitalist and consumerist system of modern urban society, also making an ironic analogy to the band's later years.
After listening to the opener and title track we instantly realize these guys are back in business. The sound swings between the first two albums, it has the energy and spontaneity of Shattered Existence
but also the more sophisticated side of For Whose Advantage？
. But things really start to heat up with the single "Bleeding Out", which includes one of the album's most appealing riffs, and the vigorous "Let the World Burn". By this time I thought to myself Chris Astley's vocals had aged well, only to immediately realize he's not part of this comeback reunion, which only counts as original members guitarist Kristian "Stan" Havard and drummer Dennis Gasser. Jay Walsh (formerly Blaze Bayley) now holds the microphone and it goes without saying his vocals closely resemble those of Chris, which is perfectly understandable since the aim of the album is to recapture Xentrix's golden age. Songs such as "World of Mouth," "Deathless and Divine," or the ender "Evil By Design" could well have been recorded in the early '90s, and perhaps Bury the Pain
was the direction the band should have taken, instead of betting on a more mainstream approach, but I guess we'll never know.
At the end of the day, Bury the Pain
is an enjoyable comeback, nothing overly exciting or innovative, as expected, just friends saying "it's been a while, lads" and that's enough for me.