XENTRIX – “Seven Words”

by Thor

UK metal machine XENTRIX returns with a new album featuring 11 tracks of meaty thrash metal.

Long considered British thrash pioneers, XENTRIX has been fairly stable and entirely active since their most recent reformation in 2013. Although, the new full-length “Seven Words” is only the band’s second album over the past 26 years following 2019’s “Bury the Pain”.

The first thing that jumps out from “Seven Words” is how well mixed it is. This thing is a sonic kaiju. It’s big and muscular but also crisp and snappy. Just from an aesthetic perspective, the album sounds unusually massive and heavy, even for this genre. It’s an impressive production.

The second thing that typifies “Seven Words” is that every song has at least one mosh part that’s mid-tempo, 4/4, and heavy as whale balls. To me, that’s the secret to good thrash metal. A great mosh part can almost always save an otherwise uncompelling song. If writing thrash songs were a sport, coaches would be preaching the importance of mosh parts at every practice, but I digress. The bottom line is that there are some unstoppable riffs in XENTRIX’s arsenal here, and they’re found on every single track.

The well composed, well mixed musical performances cover up almost all the album’s holes, and there are some holes. Most notably, the vocal performance is a pretty ho-hum, low-energy affair, especially relative to the instrumentation. There are brief moments when the vocals rise to meet the intensity of the music, here and there, but those are mostly attributable to production tricks. Whatever the case, it’s not enough.

And that’s a shame because with a better vocal performance, XENTRIX’s “Seven Words” is an instant classic, great thrash metal from top to bottom. As it is, though, I can think of worse things than having to settle for very good.