By The Xenith Sound
For as grandiose as their biog describes them, employing such everyday phrases as "dramatic melodic edge", "distinctive atmospheric sound" and those favourite biog-bites "inspiration" and "soaring", The Xenith Sound are a rock band. Ouch, I know it isn't a "cool" word or phrase but it's true. There's Reef, Aerosmith, Marillion (Fish era), Metallica, and one or two others that it would pain me to admit recognising. Now all this might sound negative to this point but I bid you not cast me down just yet! TXS (it sounds even more rock when abbreviated) are excellent musicians and I mean quality. Guitarist Tom Flannigan's ability to employ the old effects bank is mightily impressive and although I admit to not being a fan of fret wanking, this is often understated and technically beautiful. But top prize though goes to drummer Rich Wales who knows how to tickle them skins.
So what of the songs? Well they're rock but they don't all rock. The CD opens well with the driving "Beautiful" (although painfully adorned with a few "Yeah's" at the end of verse lines) and "Lone Child" with its "soaring" chorus and "atmospheric" verse. Third track "Haven" is far too dated and ponderous and closer "Any Way" attempts to end the CD with a fitting climax but has little to remember it by other than some more impressive guitar work.
The music industry is currently under going a strange time when traditional rock sounds are becoming more popular again i.e. The Datsuns and they're big balls rock and roll, but there has yet to be a recall of the likes mentioned in this review. TXS have a dated style that they perform superbly - work that one out if you can? In certain parts of the US and Germany they would be revolutionary crazy guys, here they get a reviewer like me drawing comparisons to 80's rock acts that for now lie dormant on the shelves of record stores.