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Xhohx - Karyotypeexplosion
XsavioR - Caleidoscope
Xteria - Outshine
Xhohx - Karyotypeexplosion
I do not know how to pronounce this band's name correctly, but this Belgian group called Xhohx performs one of very unusual progressive music on their first full-length debut album 'Karyotypeexplosion'. Until I got this cd, I had not been very familiar with progressive music scene of Belgium. I've heard of some music samples and names from Belgium-based prog rock groups like Beyond The Labyrinth, that's it. Basically I have zero knowledge about what the Belgium prog scene looks like to be honest with you. As I have already mentioned Xhohx music a little bit above, I'd like to stress out once again. What this group aims for sounds quite bizzarre and very avant-garde. Stylistically, I can not pinpoint what their influences directly come from. There are mostly short songs with super complex instrumentations, except for their last track called "Nucleark" including also very intricate atonal passages. Xhohx consists of basically two main musicians handling their heavy prog music. One of main members is called Ramon Ribas Coca playing guitars and programming. Another musician's name sounds reallly stange and unknown, but Oregolakatzor takes the role of bass and some wierd vocalizations and almost grunt vocals. Besides them, there seems some guest musicians handling other parts. By the way, the piano sounds/patches that they create (by guitar synth or processed sounds I do not know anyway) on the track like "Turzmena Metastabilis" and "Nucleark" add some nightmarish tension that I could enjoy.
The music of Karyotypeexplosion is definitely not for people who are having heart problems. Rhythmically, it's quite technically challenging stuff, that's for sure. If you are into avant-garde type progressive music like Japanese avant band Ruins and British dark prog band Guapo or superb complex prog bands including Sleepytime Gorrila Museum, the style of Xhohx would definitely excite you and very enjoyable somehow. Man, this is really quite intense and hard to describe what I've heard so far. But I could say personally that this tortured sonic onslaught with intricate ensemble is somehow quite astonishing and enjoyable. Moreover, I would say that I respect this kind of technical music ability that Xhohx showcases. In particular, their performance of rhythmic and atonal sections would intrigue prog fans who are also into King Crimson and Swedish technical R.I.O. group called Samla Mammas Manna I guess. As for vocal parts, it is really difficult to get into, because they intensionally express agony and nightmarish atmospheres within their tracks. As you look at their booklet, pictures and artwork, it reminds me of the issues about miscarriages and abortions. Probably, they throw causions and ponder difficult subjects of abortions as people without thinking twice killing innocent babies or tiny human embryo forming new lives.
Therefore, the nature of their music itself has become really heavy and superbly complex. When you get used with their distorted yet technical passages and polyrhythmic beats, there are lots of fantastic instrumental sections you would find and deeply get into. To me, it took many days to digest what is going on. However, I could somehow kind of enjoy their atonal sections and technically challenging progressive music being geard toward Rock In Opposition or No Wave category. I would guess that there are some fantastic underground avant-garde and progressive scene in Belgium. I do not usually review the music of R.I.O./avant-type prog music that often on my website, but overall the music of Xhohx has intrigued me quite a lot with super heavy moments. I do not recommend for people who are comfortable with melodic and dramatic prog music strictly, yet highly recommended for someone who is dying for technically challenging and "never heard before" avant-gardish prog music fans. What a really complex and intense progressive music it is! Some people might tend to think the member of Xhohx seem a mad scientist, but the truth is...I really think they are quite accomplised and clever musicians creating intense new music.
XsavioR - Caleidoscope
Caleidoscope is a Swedish prog rock group's first full-length debut album from Atenzia Records. As you see that Atenzia Records has been offering really nice musical groups like A.C.T. and so forth. Okay, let me introduce you to this fine super-prog group. Xsavior is a five-piece melodic hard prog band from Sweden. Actually, the group was formed by the call of Mind's Eye's leader, Daniel Flores (drums) to ask a session singer Goran Edman and Tears of Anger's guitarist Benny Jansson to join. Later on, the keyboard player Matt Norberg and session bass player Mathias Garnas have joined the forces of XsavioR. As long as you see this impressive line-up, no doubt there has been no musical flaws, what's so ever.
Musically, Caleidoscope has lots of great attractions and elements to entertain Scandinavian Hard Rock/Metal music listeners besides melodic prog fans. There are tons of melodic hookliness and incredible vocal melodies courtesy by Goran Edman's great vocal performances and XsavioR member's nice instrumentations. I think a few tracks featured on Caleidoscope appeal to the fans of A.C.T. and Queen as well. Intelligently and thoughtfully, the music of Xsavior contains the songs that you want to sing along. That means that the listeners feel the music on Caleidoscope is very approacheable and friendly. At the same time, their music also have big attractions to draw the listeners who have keen ears, or want to hear technically challenging music. For instance, I believe prog metal fans who enjoy Dream Theater and Enchant would be into some Xsavior's intricate instrumentals and the tunes like Taj Mahal pt.1 to pt3. Even thought the music of XsavioR contains lots of friendlieness and hookliness, definately there has many complex sections and intricacies that I have enjoyed listening quite a lot.
Overall, Caleidoscope contains lots of varied tracks and unique arrangements, indeed. Esp., I have been very entertained by their sophisticated progressive approach and tasty ensembles on 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 tracks from their first album. If you look for odd-time beats and sudden surprises, Xsavior prepares to astonish you and give satisfactory moments during the listening session. Oh yes, the opening track and second track, Lex The Fry, have immediate punchieness and hard-driving approach to grab your heart right away. Yeah, Xsavior can handle including heavy hard rock, proggy ones, radio-hit potensial songs, soft acoustic-oriented tracks, and everything you can find in the field of good rock/prog music.
I had been waiting for this album's release until I finally got my hands on this one. My wait is over, and they delivered a really fine product. In my case, I totally enjoyed this entire album, even for first spinning of the cd. Probably, it depends on the listener who enjoy this one instantly or will face some difficulties to catch up what's going on, due to lots of different unique ingredients put together. With several spinnings of the cd, you'll get more enjoyments from XsavioR's music. What reminds of me most time from their music is probably Mind's Eye's recent works. However, I find something unique and fresh things on Xsavior different from Mind's Eye. I think Xsavior has lots of impressive keyboard solos and bit wierd but unique vocal effects on Goran Edman's performance (just occasionally though, like on "Lex The Fly") with quite impressive thick vocal harmonies and sound layers. In addition, some listeners are going to detect some influences from Abba, Styx, and Queen as hidden spices and ingredients on the departments of vocal arrangments. Do not get me wrong, they have managed to adapt them, and to make all of them into their own creations.
I think there are some people tyring to define their music, but that is quite hard tusk to do that. Well, you are going to file them under the category of AOR/Melodic Rock. However, they are not simply categorized like that. Probably, you might say they are hard prog. Well, I think I agree with you in certain thoughts on that. But it might be a bit none-sence to put them in a certain box called categorization. There has been no doubt that XsavioR has the musical elements of both hard prog and melodic prog metal with catchy AOR-ness. It's up to you that how you interpret their music. Anyway, I really congratulate Xsavior camp to create really excellent and bombastic melodic prog rock sounds. I hope many music fans would dig this impressive offering. Highly recommended to the fans who are into both prog rock and prog metal in general.
Xteria - Outshine
Xteria from Italy plays some sort of melodic hard rock music in late 80's style with some elements of prog metal touches. Most tunes from Outshine reminds me of Dokken, Lynch Mob, Firehouse, and such 80s style bands, but Xteria inject some 90s prog metal moments in their music. Even though they feature a keyboard player, there are not outstanding keyboard solos. Keyboard supports background atmospheres overall. Instead, lead guitarist plays lots of LA-metal style solos on finest spots. Esp., the singer of Xteria did outstanding job, his vocal style is really smooth and powerful. Xteria is different sounding band from Italian bands mostly I have heard which are proggy type or prog metal bands, but Xteria also has some kind of proggy essence in their 80s style melodic hard rock/metal. That was kind of interesting parts for me.