Xentrix
Seven Words

I’m not a huge thrash metal guy. Other than some that were my gateway bands into death metal like Slayer, Possessed, Metallica, and Holy War (and for some reason never heard or purchased a Megadeth album). However, in the late 80s, I did have a soft spot for thrash from my homeland of England mainly Sabbat, but also the likes of Toranaga, Cerebral Fix, Hellbastard, Onslaught, Acid Reign, Lawnmower Deth and Xentrix.

Xentrix seemed to have the easiest path to stardom, and be the UK’S answer to Metallica and moreso to these ears, Testament’s Bay Area thrash; 2 pretty impressive worldwide attention-getting,  albums on Road Racer Records (1989s Shattered Existence and 1990s For Whose Advantage?), some real-world political themes, and a semi worldwide hit for the cover of the Ghostbusters theme.

But in a post-Metallica Black album world, metal was never to be the same. That, along with grunge, and the watering down, commercialization, and mainstream success-chasing fever that hit almost all of metal in the years following. For Xentrix, it started with 1992s Kin and continued with 1996s real spiral into awfulness, Scourge. which by then had a new vocalist as well Nu metal as an influence to contend with as well. Then the band called it quits.

There was a comeback album in 2019s Bury The Pain, but I’m not sure how much the metal/thrash world cared- I never even knew about it until I started preparing to write this review. But man, Seven Words got me breaking out the stonewashed denim jeans and white high-top sneakers as it’s a real solid bay Area thrash album that kinda got me excited about a (UK) thrash band and album again.

 

Bolstered by 2 original members in Dennis Gasser (drums) and Stan Harvard (guitars) and the newish bassist Chris Shires (since 2013) and vocalist/guitarist that appeared on Bury The Pain ( former Blaze Bayley guitarist, Jay Walsh), the sound certainly culls from the bands 2 first albums and Bury the Pain. Big crunchy guitars, throbbing bass, and perfectly balanced Chuck Billy-esque vocals that are the right amount of gravelly shout and pissed-off sneer, but it’s the strong songwriting that makes the album.

Still deep in the socio-political arena, the album has titles like “My War”, “Everyone Loves You When you Are Dead”, “Anything But the Truth” and “Kill and Protect and the thrashing fury matches the energy of the lyrics. There’s an ample balance of hard-charging, crunchy numbers like the opener “Behind The Walls Of Treachery”,  the title track, “The Altar Of Nothing” “Ghost Tape Number 10” and personal favorite “Kill and Protect” or moody surlier numbers like “Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead”,  “Reckless With A Smile” and “Anything But The Truth” with its cool orchestral intro. The album ends with a cover of Alice Cooper’s “Billion Dollar Babies”, given a nice chunky makeover.

It all comes delivered with a stout, stern production that’s pure modern thrash, not black/thrash, not death/thrash, not American metal /thrash- just modernized, classic, old-school thrash and as a result, ends up the first pure, classic thrash album I’ve enjoyed in ages. Cheers lads.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 12th, 2022

Comments

  1. Commented by: F.Rini

    Great review and yes this is truly solid thrash. Their 2019 album is really great too. That silly Ghostbusters ep from years ago really hyped the band. I remember all the ‘zine ads with that cover.


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