It was some time around Christmas 2003 if I remember rightly. I was at a festive gig at the Royal Park Cellars to see Robochrist, Xi and the Sisters of Murphy. Somewhere in the middle of the bill, a band came on who well and truly blew me away. If you've not seen Nex live then rest assured they most definitely are something else. A lead singer who looks like Rik Mayall's character from "Bottom" undergoing an exorcism, a guitarist and drummer who look like they were busted out of the local nuthouse ten minutes before the gig and a sharp-suited bass player who looks about as out of place as it's possible for one person to look. All four creating some of the most ferally thrilling rock 'n' roll you've ever heard.
Ah but not so fast, how many bands have we seen in recent years rise up from this city of ours on the back of a ferocious live reputation only for some clueless producer to stick 'em in the studio, completely fail to capture their live energy on record and leave a stifled dry husk of a record (10,000 Things anyone?). I'll admit it, when the ed sent me this to review I was really worried that Nex might have fallen into the same trap.
Luckily these fears were groundless - Nex have turned in a debut album which more than captures the energy and ferocity of their live shows. Sounding like a less annoyingly pretentious version of System of a Down, it proves that their elevation from local heroes to newly-installed favourites among the national metal press is well deserved. From the full-on rush of opener "Schadenfreude" and the visceral "Friday 13th" to the twisting Faith No More influenced likes of "The Worm" and "Paper Moon", it's everything that you sort of wanted nu-metal to sound like but it never quite did. Indeed, it's Mike Patton and co that Nex most resemble on this offering and that's high praise indeed. It certainly torches a lot of the less gifted Brit bands of this genre (Lostprophets, Bullet For My Valentine and all their tiresome ilk).
Quite simply, this is prime time headbanging material that is exciting, innovative and fresh. If it does, as some are predicting, signal the rise of Nex to a much wider audience then they've given themselves some very potent ammo with these songs. Sit back and watch 'em fly.