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Album Review : XTASY / EYE OF THE STORM

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XTASY a group that up until now I had never had the good fortune of hearing even though this is their 3rd album since forming back in 2013. Hailing from Spain and the brainchild of guitarist and songwriter Jorge Olloque.   The group have taking some giant leaps forward in a few short years having supported many established acts such as, HELIX, TIGERTAILZ ,ECLIPSE and HARDLINE to name but a few.

Fast forward to 2020 and with Erik Maertensson of ECLIPSE fame both mixing and mastering “EYE OF THE STORM” but could the album live up to the hype surrounding this exciting Spanish outfit?

This 5 piece consisting of SILVA IDOATE / vocals, JORGE OLLOQUE / guitar, CHEMA HERRERO / guitar, DAVID CLAVERO / bass and GARI IZAZU / drums hit the ground running with opening track “DIE YOUNG” with its classy double kick drums and light keyboard flurries topped off with the effortless vocals of Silva Idoate, yet another female vocalist of superb talent that propels this genre of metal into another realm without all the dramatics and gruff voices that a man sometimes offers. To say this song is catchy is an understatement! Consisting of a solid upbeat tempo and a serious shred fest of a guitar solo it’s more than a solid album opener.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaXLLU30I4g&w=560&h=315]

“PLAY WITH FIRE” less hectic with slightly distorted vocals that introduce the track before a regular 4×4 beat sets the tone for a classic sounding rock song. Although this is a dual guitar outfit, the guitars are less than overpowering happily sharing with both the vocals and the soft keyboards. “PLAY WITH FIRE” sets the bar again very high when it comes to a catchy chorus and a beautiful symphonic feel.

With its solid single drum boom and chugging guitars sounding like the 8.15 out of Charring Cross, title track “EYE OF THE STORM” showcases a more sublime almost melodic feel with its continued chugging affect and well crafted main guitar solo. A track under the 4 minute mark that is a uncluttered master class in song writing. It’s very rare that a singer can dominate each and every track without forcing the vocals and Silva Idoate is a rare commodity in so much as her voice is a total joy to listen too.

“WELCOME TO MY WORLD” with its soft intro of seagulls and rolling waves soon makes way for a gentle piano stabbing the tempo, and wow !! quiet literally the most impressive semi ballad your likely to hear this year. This album just grows and grows with this track taking the listener through every emotion all rounded off with another slice of delicious guitar. When I hear music played like this is restores my faith in the future of rock / metal.

“FLESH AND BLOOD” turns the dramatics up a notch with those vocals being belted out at a slightly higher pitch whilst still maintaining a non-aggressive approach. This group sure know how to keep those choruses flowing freely and somehow achieve it time and time again. More gentle piano tones introduces “CRASHING DOWN” and for me the best song on the album.

I love the way the backing vocals are layered with ghostly affects especially at the start and the end of the song and the accompanying piano that is a constant throughout. Album closer “SILENT HEROES” slowly builds from a solid drum beat with guitars peeling off a simple riff it is a basic sounding song with a very strong message in the lyrics.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzP3U6o7GBE&w=560&h=315]

This album was recommended for me to listen to and review by someone who was very impressed by what they had heard. I can only agree whole heartedly that this album is quiet simply put, amazing from beginning to end, not a duff filler song just choruses that ooze class and musicianship of the highest order, When it comes the vocals, well they have to be heard to be believed.

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If I was to pigeon hole “EYE OF THE STORM” it’s symphonic with a pinch of melodic rock added to the sound, with a very nice production that is crisp and fresh sounding, Just for the record this album has had to be reviewed twice because my original work vanished from my laptop so I had to retype the whole thing again, when an album is this fantastic then its more than worth a retype. All in all, I urge anyone to have a listen and check out the videos for the 3 singles released so far to see why I am so enthusiastic about XTASY.

Review by Steve Bruty for MPM

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