Live Review: Xentrix – Wolverhampton

Live Review: Xentrix - KK's Steel Mill, Wolverhampton
1st May 2022
Support: Kensei, Damnation's Hammer
Words & Photos: Tim Finch

Back in thrash metal’s hayday the British scene was bustling with local talent, venues were crammed and the fans came in their droves. Whilst no one from these Isles quite lived up to the American “Big Four”, three bands did emerge, a British “Big Three” if you like… Three bands that stood head and shoulders above the rest, Sabbat, Onslaught and Lancashire’s finest Xentrix.

Tonight in Wolverhampton it is Xentrix that return to the live arena. The tour, delayed as most have been by the pandemic, finally taking place at KK’s Steel Mill, the now legendary venue. The faded, ageing battle jackets and well worn bullet belts emerge from the closet, dusted off, freshened up and ready to go to war once more.

A late edition to tonight’s bill are local outfit Kensei. New to virtually everyone in attendance, these kids bring their Black Country attitude to the show. They aren’t thrash but then they don’t pretend to be. They do draw out some inspiration from the genre in their face melting riffs, think a youthful Lamb of God and you wouldn’t be far off. Young, aggressive and in your face, bab!

Main support for the full U.K. run has been The death and doom laden Damnation’s Hammer, formed in 2007 but with just two albums to their name, and a third in the works. From the off the music lives up to their reputation, it’s dark and gritty and creates a haunting atmosphere. But it’s not all doom, there are passages of ferocious riffing and fist pumping fury.

Through their darkened metal exhilaration comes a band brimming with talent. Changes in pace and tone keep the fans on their feet, wondering what comes next and where will they take us? Long expansive solos intersected with burst of power, energy and aggression. Different to what you might expect, but excellent all the same.

With the scene set it’s left to Xentrix to steel the show, and they have no problem stepping up to the plate. Immediately they show why they stood head and shoulders above the rest of the British scene. ‘Bury The Pain’ the title track of the bands 2019 album and ‘Balance of Power’ off the classic ‘Shattered Existence’ opus open the show. Their powerful, aggressive sound cutting the atmosphere and getting the pit nicely warmed up.

The band only perform for an hour this evening, but this short set list hits hard. ‘For Whose Advantage?’, ‘Crimes’ and ‘Kept In the Dark’ lead nicely into a cover of the classic ‘Damage Inc.’, before the set is closed out with ‘Black Embrace’ and ‘No Compromise’.

Yet again Xentrix confirm their status as cream of the British crop, over the years they have lost none of their zest or vigour and deliver exactly what it says on the tin!

Photo credits: Tim Finch Photography

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