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Xcarnation: Grounded

Ever since Kip Winger's name became "the archetype for everything that sucks," as he told me in a 2000 interview, he has lent his name to a variety of projects that seek to separate him from the sound his namesake band perpetuated in the late Eighties from his soul-searching, mostly acoustic solo work to performing a series of gigs with the Alan Parsons Project. Winger's latest project, the oddly named Xcarnation, finds him teaming with accomplished Turkish musician, composer, arranger and producer Cenk Eroglu to create a record that melds heavy rock and electronica with Eastern and Western musical influences. The duo share some writing credits, guitar playing and vocal duties on Xcarnation's first album, Grounded, which, incidentally, was released in the United States on Trent Gardner's Muse-Wrapped Records.

For Grounded, Eroglu brought in players as diverse as King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto, Winger/Dokken guitarist Reb Beach and many Turkish musicians bearing ethnic instruments. Based solely on the disturbing cover art, unusual song titles and rattling lyrics rooted in religion and spirituality, this is a record unlike anything else in which these musicians have been involved a record that doesn't conveniently slot into either the rock or world-music genres. The closest comparisons would probably be Nine Inch Nails and possibly Winger's under-heard 2000 solo album, Songs From the Ocean Floor. Distorted vocals dance on an industrial edge in the slamming opener "Personal Antichrist," and that vibe continues throughout most of the album, reaching an ugly head on Grounded's most bizarre track "Take A Deep Breath." Elsewhere, accessible arrangements break through Mastelotto's processed drums and the modulated dual vocals of Cenk and Kip on "Everlasting," and the ballad "Without You" boasts minimal lyrics and (along with the slow-burn funkiness of the Winger-sung "Reason to Believe") possesses the greatest potential for widespread appeal

This is an adventurous album that slowly leaves an impression. I hated it the first time I heard it; now I don't.

Track Listing:
1) Personal Antichrist
2) Everlasting
3) Without You
4) Desperately Sad
5) Reason to Believe
6) Lucky Day
7) Take A Deep Breath
8) Coma White
9) Willing to Wait
10) Pictures

Added: January 5th 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Muse-Wrapped Records
Hits: 6166
Language: english

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