23 years since they last released anything, with this being their second reformation since disbanding in ’96, Xentrix are finally back with a new album. After Chris Astley left in 2015, a new vocalist/guitarist Jay Walsh replaced him 2017 and together with guitarist Kristian Havard, bassist Chris Shires and drummer Dennis Gasser they are giving the world the Andy Sneap produced ‘Bury The Pain’. I wasn’t certain whether I was going to enjoy the album, as for me Astley was a key feature of their sound and to be honest ‘Scourge’ is quite easily my least favourite album of theirs, quite possibly for that very reason. I need not have been concerned. Not only are all the great riff structures and bass runs in there, the powerful drumming and gruff but clear vocals are too.
Opening with the title track “Bury The Pain”, it does take long for Gasser’s footwork to shine through after the mellow guitar intro ends and the heavier guitars require the more intense pounding on the skins. Stan’s lead is just as impressive.
“There Will Be Consequences” comes in at speed and doesn’t relent for its duration, even though the chorus does have a catchiness about it Walsh’s vocals have just the right amount of edge to them to convey the message you should infer, as Shires’s bass runs add to the malevolent undercurrent.
The fast and furious main riff on “Bleeding Out” screams Xentrix to me, which is exactly what I want. While “The Truth Lies Buried” slows things down to give us the heady intricate guitar play of the intro before leads litter the heavier riffs that tumble over each other and are intertwined by the pops and buzz of the accompanying bass notes.
Picking up the pace again “Let The World Burn” is definitely going to get those pits moving as the steady but rapid drum rolls keep the guitars going between verses, but it’s the great bass riff in there that stands out for me.
You’d guess that “The Red Mist Descends” is a fast and angry song, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but what you probably wouldn’t expect it just how groovy it is too, especially during the lead break.
“World Of Mouth” and “Deathless And Divine” are both straightforward thrash songs that get the job done without any fanfare and have just the right about of levity in the leads as they glide above the heavier riffs.
I think the beautiful acoustic guitar intro of “The One You Fear” could easily go on for much longer, but I think the impact of the change to the distorted electric might not be as effective if it did, with Walsh’s now far more familiar vocals having won me over by this point too.
They end the album on with a high-energy song in the form of “Evil By Design”, where shattering snare sound drives into your mind before the lead blisters your ear canal.
If you enjoyed Xentrix 30 years ago, you will love them now.
(8/10 Marco Gaminara)