Sunday Old School: Xentrix
On February 3rd of this year, Sunday Old School took a look at Acid Reign, one of Britain’s best contributions to thrash metal. A day later, another of the British thrash greats, Xentrix announced that they had decided to reunite, after people had demanded them to do so for years. This week, we will be giving Xentrix the recognition they deserve, and examining the career of one of the biggest names in British thrash. Xentrix were formed in the Lancashire city of Preston and garnered themselves plenty of interest when their demo received a perfect score in Kerrang! magazine, which eventually led to a deal with Roadrunner Records, following a successful audition. Through the label, the band released their first full length album, "Shattered Existence" in 1989, and embarked on a tour with fellow thrashers, Sabbat, to support the release.
The band followed the release of their debut album with a single, a cover of the Ray Parker Jr. hit, "Ghostbusters." It was a controversial move in several aspects, not least in the copyright area, which forced the band to re-issue the record with a different cover due to use of the "Ghostbusters" logo without permission. Despite the novelty of a thrash metal version of the song, the band had rightly earned the respect of their peers with, "Shattered Existence," as evidenced by their slot opening for Bay Area heavy hitters, Testament and the group soon set to work on a second album, which was released in 1990 under the title, "For Whose Advantage?" The album was a hit amongst thrash fans, being heralded as one of the best thrash releases of the year, with the title track and the song, "Questions" in particular receiving praise, and they once again hit the road with Sabbat to promote the album.
An EP, "Dilute To Taste" was next on the agenda for Xentrix, which featured two brand new songs, as well as a number of live tracks, before heading out on their own headlining tour of the United Kingdom, helping their friend, Martin Walkyier and his new band, Skyclad by bringing them along for the trek, as well as performing at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon (now the Hammersmith Apollo) supporting Brazilian thrashers, Sepultura and at Wembley when they opened for American thrash kings, Slayer. While "For Whose Advantage" was more progressive than, "Shattered Existence," the band took a much bigger step in the progressive direction on their next album, "Kin." The album was released in 1992 and the band found some MTV airplay with the opening song, "Order of Chaos," which was also released as an EP. Although their fan base weren’t entirely persuaded by this new direction, the band took the material on the road when they teamed up with German outfit, Tankard for a European tour, before coming back home for another headline tour. After demoing new music, frontman Chris Astley decided to leave Xentrix and the group filled his void with singer, Simon Gordon and guitarist Andy Rudd, and the new incarnation recorded one more album, "Scourge" before calling it a day, citing the fading metal scene in Britain as the primary reason.
Amid the thrash revival of the mid 2000s, the band briefly returned to perform a handful of gigs in the United Kindom with up and coming thrashers, Evile and fellow reactivated thrash veterans, Onslaught, though unlike Onslaught, Xentrix decided not to continue performing or record new material, even stating that they had no intention to get back together in the future, much to the chagrin of fans. Despite that claim, Xentrix announced their return last month, one which many expect will be a triumphant one. Their first item of business will be teaming up with Evile once again, to support German legends, Kreator in England and Ireland next month and then to make an appearance at this year’s edition of Bloodstock Open Air, while also working on new material for the first time in almost two decades, before closing out the year with a Christmas show in Nottingham alongside Lawnmower Deth. Though it remains unclear when the new material will be heard, having Xentrix back on the scene is one of the best bits of news in metal so far this year.
Xentrix - "Balance of Power"
Xentrix - "Ghostbusters"
Xentrix - "For Whose Advantage"
Xentrix - "No More Time"
Xentrix - "Never Be"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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