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TRACK LIST: 1. Welcome to the War 4:41 2. Domino 5:05 3. Gertrudestein 4:09 4. Sweet Idol 4:45 5. Spinning 3:37 6. Color & Light 2:20 7. Fabulous Machine 6:21 8. Vanity 3:50 9. The End of Nowhere 7:31 LINEUP: Jan Weincle – guitars; guitar synth; vocals Neils Knudsen – bass Valentino – drums
Prolusion. “Welcome to the War” is the debut release by the Danish trio XCENTRIX. In the press kit the musicians lavishly share their personal vision of their music with the potential listener, but don’t shed any light on their history.
Analysis. Neither the eccentric name of this trio nor the term the musicians use to define their style, Heavy Mental, is actually applicable to their work, despite being so highly suggestive and promising. Okay, they often deploy complex meters in their songs, but such devices have no weight if the music itself is both unpretending and conventional, as it is in most cases on this particular release. Of the disc’s nine tracks, none of which are instrumentals, only the first two, the title piece and Domino, are more or less interesting, bringing to mind a crossover between NWBHM of a Judas Priest model, post-Black Sabbath Doom Metal and late-‘90s Rush. Each reveals enough transitions to challenge, well, at least the proto-progressive ear :-), a few different instrumental intermezzos included. However, it is Jan Weincle’s vocals that are a true embellishment of both, coming across as their most progressive as well as original component. On these the man appears as a chameleon-like vocalist with a very flexible voice which he handles with mastery, at times delivering even quasi operatic intonations. Unfortunately, later on Jan’s singing is much less contrasting and doesn’t diversify the music as such which, though, is generally quite straightforward. Either way, the seven successive tracks all turn out to be vocal heavy and repetitive alike and if the last two songs on the disc, Vanity and The End of Nowhere, are at least stylistically similar to their track list counterparts, the rest of the material is in all senses below average. Spinning and Color & Light are each nothing other than a traditional hard rock number reminiscent of Nazareth at its most straightforward. Gertrudestein and Sweet Idol both strictly alternate sections with harder and more reflective arrangements, the last of the pieces being basically monothematic. Furthermore, Weincle provides recitatives instead of singing there, so I believe you can easily imagine what an extremely annoying opus that Sweet Idol is. Finally the Fabulous Machine is the strangest beast in this herd of iron-headed entities: a heavily monotonous contemplative tune patterned after one of Pink Floyd’s most serene landscapes.
Conclusion. Obviously, I could have omitted reviewing this disc, according to the rules that are stated in our contact section. But then you prog heads have been warned.
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