Never for Nothing - CCM Record Reviews archive X

XD OUT : Better Day. (Xd Out 191061801924)
XD Out have the feel of a band that hold their own amidst metal bands such as POD: power drumming, solid bass work, the power chords, slightly chorussed overdriven riffs (plus harmonics), quick-fire solos, the slightly straining vocals on the edge of possibility, long held notes all screaming "sing along". It's got a huge amount of energy that is infectious. The opening track ("We Love You Lord") comes in at just under six minutes and doesn't have a huge amount of lyrics beyond the title, but it doesn't feel overlong at all, just right and never really wanting it to end. There's more than a nod to the Seattle grunge scene ("Worthy" has a verse that typifies this), together with some rather more distinctly British Iron Maiden style riffing ("Just One Day", "Deeper") and frantic chord work. It all sits as a wonderful bedrock for the vocals to glide over. Lyrically they're unashamed of their faith and are as uncompromising as the riffs (they describe themselves as “hard music with a hopeful message” which seemed very apt). They're not stuck in a rut though and the album shows a degree of variety: the opening and closing tracks could sit on a modern (rock) worship album easily, the title track has more of a pop rock feel to it, but a lot more on the rock side than say, the Wanted could ever hope to be, whereas "Free" is more punk in nature (with a riff the Buzzcocks would have been proud of). There's even a radio version of "Everything" as a bonus track to close the album, which is as energetic as the album version but with a few of the elements dialled back a little. Best track: Free. 7/10 Paul Ganney. (January 2018) Forward to the next archive
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