By Chip Korslund
XEX’s second CD release entitled Mixed Signals is not your typical doom metal album. What it is: a generous 17, high intensity, emotionally laden tracks - running the gamut, stylistically, from vintage 80s US metal, to thrash, to a darker contemporary metal-with-a-message. While songs like “Breaking of Earth” and “Bathing in Ashes” give the album a strong anti-establishment theme, it is “lightened up” with the tongue-in-cheek gothic darkness of songs like “Grunge Girl in Hell” and instrumental nods to the classical masters in “Wolfgang’s 40” and “Amadeus Jig”. Front man Alf DeVarona has six strings singing, pounding out a complex baseline that drives the band farther and farther down the less traveled paths of contemporary progressive metal. Bryan “Bra” Maddox is a nimble fingered metal avatar throwing out blistering ax licks one minute then drawing the listener into moody, contemplative rhythms the next. Pete Wadams gives it up for the cause on drums, completing the circle and fanning the flames to create an experience forged for the true metal fan. The bands combined contributions on vocals reveal depths of perception hidden in their original lyrics. In short, XEX’s newest album “Mixed Signals” is a visceral sensation conceived, nurtured, and unleashed by heavy metal fans for heavy metal fans. Hail XEX!