There is a detriment to throwing everything including the kitchen sink in your music. The band tends to lose focus on what they are trying to accomplish, and the results turns out to be something similar to listening to your younger brother, who has an attention deficiency disorder, cycling through the radio stations, never deciding on a station to listen to.
There are a few bands that have mastered this art of mixing up and splicing genres, like UNEXPECT and MR. BUNGLE, but the lack of a clear direction is most apparent when the songs are not strong.
Those are the main problems with XCENTRIK’s “Welcome To The War”. It tries to be everything for all people, mixing in Rock, Blues, Funk, Metal, Techno and anything else it can get its grubby little hands on, but instead they please no one due to the glaring inconsistencies. The switches in style occur with an almost audible clunk, and the more off-kilter styles are very formulaic, so the mish-mash of various genres is more of a burden for the band. The biggest point of reference is probably FAITH NO MORE, because they had that “not-quite-Metal-peppered-with-influences-from-all-over” quality to their music, but XCENTRIK’s songwriting falls flat on its face, and the music doesn’t sound very convincing. There is a lack of passion behind the playing and the melody, which really marks this down.
The singer is very inconsistent as well. Okay, that’s not exactly a fair assessment….It works when the band decides to slow things down and play softer or funkier sections, but during the more Hard Rock/Metal sections, it sounds VERY weak, due to the lack of power behind them. Drawing ANOTHER parallel to FAITH NO MORE, the singer tries his hand at many different styles of singing, but unlike Mike Patton, the man doesn’t have the skill or the ability to get do any of the various used voices properly.
To be fair, there were parts of the record I enjoyed. The opening minute sounds ominous, and “Spinning” has an old Southern Rock charm to it, but the unimpressive and forgettable moments far outweighed the good bits, and the schizophrenic song-writing approach didn’t help matters.
There are two ways XCENTRIK can improve: Keep the genre-splicing but drastically improve the songwriting and performance, or just focus on one goal.
(Online March 15, 2008)