|Classic Review: Xentrix - Shattered Existence|
Label: Roadracer Records
Year released: 1989
Genre: Thrash Metal
Review online: February 26, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Rated 4/5 (80%) (8 Votes)
Well, after a recent re-issue of Xentrix's back catalog what better time to do a review of their debut release? Xentrix have a lot of unfair comparisons to early Metallica, but personally I think a closer comparison would be more like that of an amalgamation of early Testament and Megadeth, simply because they're certainly more jarring and edgy than Metallica ever were, and were generally purer and more pithy in common thrash terms than them (i.e without all the progressive extended song lengths and dualing guitar drenched Thin Lizzy-melody-stealing instrumentals).
Starting off the album with a nice smack in the happy sacks with 'No Compromise', Xentrix go on to crack out a fantastic display of Bay area sounding thrash like they were actually based there (although, coming from Leyland, UK – that couldn't have been further from the truth in more ways than one!). Excellent rhythmic open E string palm muted driven thrash-o-rama is mixed up with jagged chord and tempo changes, squealing guitar solos and solid drum work making this a white hot and totally unmissable thrash album not only for fans of the genre, but for fans of metal in general. There's some great Anthrax-like mosh breakdowns spattered amongst the old school riffage, but for the most part it's pure upbeat galloping thrash par excellence, coupled with a snarling punky vocal performance by Chris Astley who although on this album he was struggling to nail his own style down (occasionally sounding like just about every thrash vocalist of worth at some point during the album – Hetfield, Mustaine, Billy and Souza in particular), managed to perfect it on the band's sophomore release. Xentrix also had a great ear for melody - check out the catchy lick in 'Position of Security', which borders on something mid-period Death would over use – Xentrix do no fall in this trap however, using it just enough to make it an enjoyable experience without flogging it to death, and turning from it into some more molten thrash after its usage rather than going into a wussed-out pussy section.
So, if by some random happenstance you've never actually got around to checking Xentrix out – what the fuck are you waiting for? A written invitation? Get the limited to 2000 copies digipak re-issue already… apparently it has their completely pointless cover of the Ghostbusters song on it as a bonus track too. Actually, perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned that….
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