Veteran UK thrashers Xentrix are one of the most criminally underrated bands in the history of metal. Set to be the UK thrash’s answer to the Big Four, in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s they had an extended moment, with a couple of hit albums plus support slots for all the big names. They had the image, the riffs (such as the sublime refrain in “For Whose Advantage”), the gloriously lurid album covers; plus a certain Ghostbusters cover song and ensuing lawsuit which brought them notoriety.
Sadly, however, they broke up in 1996 without reaching the upper echelons of their subgenre, and reunions in 2005/6 and 2013 were short-lived. But to the delight of old-school thrash fans, Xentrix are now back to full-throttle with Bury The Pain, their first album in 23 years, to be released on June 7th (Europe) and June 21st (US). (Pre-order options including bundles, vinyl, CDs, cassettes, and other merch may be found here.)
Bury The Pain’s cover art is by Dan Goldsworthy, an artist beloved of thrash bands, and it cleverly references Xentrix’s iconic anti-capitalist album cover For Whose Advantage. The smug banker of 1990 is now holding a gun in despair, smeared in blood and tortured by demons for his crimes. But political commentary plays second fiddle to the music, which is high quality old-school thrash that sounds exactly as you would expect and hope.
Cauterize the would else you might find yourself “Bleeding Out” while streaming this song:
The mid-tempo intro to first track “Bury The Pain” soon kicks in to the fast riffing that defines the majority of the album. There’s not a huge amount of diversity here. “The Truth Lies Buried” and “The One You Fear” feature slow acoustic starts, and there are some satisfyingly-heavy palm-muted breakdowns, but Bury The Pain is pretty much ten tracks of high-tempo riffing. It may be retro, but sounds fresh and energetic rather than dated. Stand-out tracks are perhaps the title song, which sounds like Metallica at their thrashiest and best, “The Truth Lies Buried” with its melodic passages, and the anthemic “There Will Be Consequences” and “Bleeding Out.”
A new vocalist is a major line-up change, and Jay Walsh (ex-Bullriff Stampede, who joined Xentrix in 2017) acquits himself suitably to the old-school vibe, his semi-melodic bark reminiscent of Testament and Kreator. His guitar contributions are tight and the guitar tones and solos are spot-on. Xentrix have chosen not to go for a modern sound, and there’s nothing revolutionary on this album; but would we want it any other way?
Xentrix’s return has benefitted from the ongoing thrash revival, which sees the Eighties titans continuing to headline festival stages more than thirty years on, while newcomers and crossover acts such as Power Trip and Iron Reagan bring something different to the table. Xentrix themselves may not be bringing anything new to the table, but they deserve to be celebrated for their significant contribution to the genre’s earlier days, and moreover can easily hold their own even after such a long hiatus. This is a solid, enjoyable thrash album that should ensure Xentrix a warm welcome back to festival stages this summer.
A recent promo pic of the group’s current roster:
Bury The Pain Track Listing:
01. Bury The Pain
02. There Will Be Consequences
03. Bleeding Out
04. The Truth Lies Buried
05. Let The World Burn
06. The Red Mist Descends
07. World of Mouth
08. Deathless and Divine
09. The One You Fear
10. Evil By Design
Run Time: 51:15 Release Date: June 7, 2019 Record Label: Listenable Records
And, because everyone needs more Ghostbusters in their lives, here’s this: