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XIII: Helltongue

Hungry for some quality hardcore music? Then make sure to check out XIII's debut album Helltongue. It doesn't exactly aim at reinventing the genre, but provides the listeners with enough adrenaline-drenched guitar work to become highly addictive after two or three spins, and manages to throw a curveball or two later in the game, too, to keep things interesting throughout.

The first three tracks after a nice and entrancing intro are all quick, powerful punches to the face. You can't go wrong with such heavy riffs and manic delivery, but by the end of "The Last Messiah" one could actually start worrying whether it is humanly possible to endure nine more tracks of similar intensity And it turns out the band might have thought the exact same thing as from the next track called "Gemini", which is the first one here to last over 3 minutes, they start making their compositions more complex and give us some good hints that they are not afraid to deviate from the traditional hardcore formula. In effect, "Dark Utopia" smuggles some nice melodies into the typically rough n' tough vocals, "The Valley of Death" enchants us with its dark ambience and "Post Scriptum" is a true shocker, starting with clean, melodic singing surely something no one expected to come across on this album after all the beastly screams that guitarist/vocalist Kristian Juuso managed to perform by this point. The next track, "Demon Avenue", is yet another nice surprise singing-wise, as we are treated to some well-applied vocal effects in its initial part. And while the 5-minutes long "Demon Avenue" presents a slower, more methodically ear-pounding side of XIII, the two final tracks "The Ghost" and "Deathgrip" mark a return to the speedier style of playing, thus allowing the album to come full circle and become a varied yet perfectly coherent whole.

Since there are other bands called XIII, and I'm sure not all of them match the quality of this particular XIII, I suggest you also memorize the title of the album and start hunting for it today. After all, what other CD invites you to walk down both the Valley of Death and Demon Avenue, huh?

1. Intro
2. Phantom Pain
3. The Circle of Snakes
4. The Last Messiah
5. Gemini
6. Dark Utopia
7. The Valley of Death
8. Iconoclast
9. The Scapegoat
10. Post Scriptum
11. Demon Avenue
12. The Ghost
13. Deathgrip

Added: April 8th 2013
Reviewer: Bartek Paszylk
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2376
Language: english

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