Xentrix - Bury the Pain

Xentrix Bury the Pain cover
Bury the Pain
Listenable Records
England didn’t produce thrash bands by the bucketload like America or Germany and as such the few ones that made a name for them used to be quite worthwhile. After enjoying a career that lasted a little more that decade, from the mid-80s to the mid-90s and had its ups and downs, the band attempted to reunite, twice, a decade later at first and then in the early to mid-10s, trying to keep its lineup intact. For whatever reasons that wasn’t possible so for their more recent attempt, the old timers guitarist Kristian Havard and drummer Dennis Gasser are joined by their a new vocalist/guitarist Jay Walsh and the bass player they got last time they attempted to make a comeback, Chris Shires. Creating an album some 23 years after the last time they were heard of, with the much viled “Scourge” was always gonna be a bit of a gamble , but Listenable Records must have liked what they heard cause they did order the album.
Having a new vocalist can always cause a bit of a pickle and it’s sort of a blessing in disguise that Jay Walsh sounds quite close to original singer Chris Astley, only a little rougher around the edges. He and Havard also make quite a strong guitar duo with plenty of riffs and guitar goodness all around.
Bury the Pain” (the title track) opens the album and it’s typical of the band’s style, mixing its crunchy riffs with some wailing guitar leads and a down and dirty vocal delivery that takes no prisoners.
“There will be Consequences” almost continues along the same steamrolling path, like a locomotive heading for the edge.
“Bleeding Out” hardly leaves a moment for you to catch your breath and continues to plummet the same bleak, almost Slayer-like thrash attack, with all the harshness and bile intact, but none of the occult atmosphere or chromatic characteristics of the Americans.
An glaring exception is the next song “The Truth Lies Buried”, which is more like a thrash riff equipped melodic heavy metal tune that doesn’t have a twin in the album.
“Let the World Burn” takes that style and runs with it, a lot more sinister and harsh as well as heavy, but not to the point where almost all melody is squashed out of it.
The band seems to hit a groove with “The Red Mist Descends” that continues in the same semi-melodic thrash style that fits them quite well, switching between the crushing verses and chorus and the off the wall wailing leads.
“World of Mouth” also comfortably follows a similar blueprint only a bit groovier and more crushing, but with literally small variables tweaked around… which is probably the only qualm one might have about the album that one could group songs; stylistically and they don’t have huge differences, thus making the album a little monotonous to the listener.
“Deathless and Divine” attempts to shake things up a bit with some soloing wails heralding it, before it settles in with a simple yet quite effective riff. It actually feels quite refreshing in the flow of the album.
“The One You Fear” slows things down to accommodate an intro with acoustic guitars, before ripping back into familiar X territory. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel and other some nice rhythm ideas, the solo and the neat acoustic intro/outro it sort of feels a little out of place in the album at least sequence wise.
Closer “Evil by Design” gets things back to the norm and even has an impressive first half, until it decides to slow down in the middle which destroys its momentum. Then there’s an fine solo before the song swiftly quickens up to swirl to a manic conclusion that does come a little unexpectedly.
Xentrix, despite the uncertainty that a vocalist switch could entail, return with an old-school, back to the roots and pretty solid offering, whose only issue is being a little too uniform at certain times, but not to the point that it would put you off. Well done lads.