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)
XIII MINUTES : Obsessed. (https://thirteenminutes.bandcamp.com/album/obsessed)
Over a very theatric metal rhythm (it reminded me of Dream Theatre in places) sit two vocals: the guttural (but not grating) and the sung. It’s very effective and the interchanges complement the shifting music well. The guitar-driven rhythms, riffs and themes are nicely overlaid in order to create a very powerful whole. I loved the riffs in “Blue Flame” and “Obsessed” and the bass guitar work on “Water Vice” made me take notice as it shifted effortlessly from driving headlong to a brief punctuating foreground riff and back again. The gentler (for this band - there is still an undercurrent of power and potential menace about it) “Out Of Time” gives the sung vocal a chance to shine, with a nice guest vocal to bounce off as well. Lyrically they’re solidly faith-based, clearly seen on songs such as “Reckless Love” about the love of God, touching on the idea of being sought for by God as well as Jesus’ sacrifice for us. It’s a track that also builds beautifully as it emphasises its theme, working its way through the dramatic, the powerful and the powerfully dramatic, closing the album on the chorally sung “I don’t deserve it”. Solid, powerful, excellently put together. Best track: “Obsessed.” 7/10 Paul Ganney. (December 2019) Forward to the next archive
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