Released: 2008, Stormspell Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Someone´s getting a bit teeny-weeny nostalgic here... And you know why? It´s the early stuff from bands like Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Cirith Ungol, Scorpions, Janis Joplin, Alice Cooper and similar sounding legendary artists that do it for me when listening to them. Also Xinr, from Portland, Oregon, does the same to me – and they are also all about all of those aforementioned bands listed above, both music and nearly era-wise, too.
Xinr never got any albums released as a tragedy hit the band on that sad night of November 30th 1984: Both the band´s vocalist Anton Tony Saiz and guitarist Shaun Tramel were tragically killed together in a motorcycle accident. It naturally goes without saying that such a tragic loss of two fellow band members, was very hard to live down for the remaining members of the band, and they never did. Everyone was mentally torn to pieces, this including families, friends and just about anyone that somehow knew these young and gifted musicians back in those days.
Now after 25 long years of waiting, Xinr´s music has finally been released – thanks to Stormspell Records again for bringing out this classic US metal gem. To describe the best possible way how Xinr sounds like, I would say take Judas Priest´s ROCKA ROLLA and SAD WINGS OF DESTINY albums, and then replace Rob Halford with Janis Joplin´s warbly vocals in them - also by adding some flavors from Bon Scott and Klaus Meine, with a touch of Tim Baker´s (Cirith Ungol) unique vocalism, and there you basically have Xinr.
They sound very ´70s, hippie type of heavy rock, yet they sound very organic and amazingly catchy, clearly suggesting like they seem to have a really good and relaxed time whenever they play together. They have a healthy dose of sort of a mystic charm in their sound as well, the same way like Cirith Ungol had when they still existed. Xinr also recorded songs like “Fight the Dragon” and “The Devil´s Gone”, that both were used for Cruella´s debut album in 1987; a band which Xinr´s other guitarist Roger DeCarlo later joined. Both of Cruella´s versions have also been included for this release as bonus, which is simply natural as the original versions were recorded under the Xinr´s moniker. I gotta say that Cruella´s versions are slightly more metallic sounding, more up-tempo and naturally more updated compared to Xinr´s versions though.
The bottom line, however, is that Xinr have always been one of the most hidden gems of classic sounding US metal… Until now, I mean. This collection is a pretty much essential, must-have purchase for anyone who has an insatiable appetite for some rare, vintage US metal.