Album Review: XXI – Inside Out

 

Could you please “Say It Again“? Because I’m not done listening to this incredible album. All of these infectious grooves have me right at the edge of my seat, that I’m “Hanging By A Thread“! I know I look tired. I’ve been constantly movin’ and rockin’, but I’m still not sure why you’d be “Counting Me Out“. I have to tell you how much I’m thoroughly enjoying this, but I’m not sure I can sum it up enough to give it justice…it’s insanely good! See? That “Wasn’t Enough“. “All I Want” is to just play it over and over again, because after listening to this, I feel like I’m not the only “Misfit” in the world. There’s so much emotion displayed throughout the music, it feels like you’ve just “Cut Me Open” to see what’s actually pumping through this heart, and yet I feel so “Alive” after it all. Uh-oh…the music stopped…but “Without You” and your band, what will I listen to? I guess it’s time to focus anyways. I got a review to write. It won’t be hard though. The feelings I get from listening to this album is like the first time you look into the eyes of that special someone and you’re finally able to say it’s the “Way You Love Me

I’m sure this was an album for many where you found yourself saying “I’m not sure what to expect”. Some of the members of XXI were originally part of the band A Feast for Kings, which played some pretty outstanding music in their time. The band faced a crippling tragedy when their original vocalist, Eric Gentry, passed away due to an accident at his day to day job doing construction. The band decided to press on. Guitarist/vocalist Seth Weigand was quoted saying that the band “plan on continuing with our music as Eric would want us to move forward. His memories live forever in the music we make”. This was an incredibly fitting way to put it since they released a tribute song to Eric, aptly named “Memories“. It’s an extremely heartfelt song that truly captures the meaning of love, friendship and loss.

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“This band took their time writing this album, painstakingly putting all of their blood, sweat, and tears into every word and note. You can feel it in every strike of the guitar string, pluck of the bass, tap and rattle of the drum, and through every letter that is sung.”

 

Upon first listen a lot of you probably wouldn’t know this band used to be a heavy metalcore outfit. XXI prescribe to a much more melodic, clean singing driven sound that is more alternative rock than core. Despite that a few songs still have some teeth to it. This is clearly shown on a track like “Hanging By A Thread“, which comes in so fast and heavy it takes you by surprise. As far as running the gambit from heavy-hitters to slower tunes this record has it all. The latter is shown perfectly on a track entitled “Without You“, which flows with such powerful emotion. One of the greatest things about music is that it’s so open to your own interpretation you can always take your own meaning away from it. This song in particular hit me hard for multiple reasons. Recently I lost one of my best friends in the world to a tragic accident, and the love of my life all in one week. The lyric “There were words I never said, there were things we never did. Something’s missing inside without you tonight. And there were thoughts in my head, so many tears that I’ve shed. I’ve been losing my mind without you tonight”, definitely hit home. Yet at the end I felt a strange happiness knowing I wasn’t alone with thoughts like this.

This band took their time writing this album, painstakingly putting all of their blood, sweat, and tears into every word and note. You can feel it in every strike of the guitar string, pluck of the bass, tap and rattle of the drum, and through every letter that is sung. It would be a huge mistake to sleep on this outstanding record. The boys in XXI have created a masterpiece that Eric Gentry would truly be proud of. Kudos boys. Can’t wait to hear more.

 

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