Released: 2011, Frontiers Records
XOrigin is the culmination of a long-time friendship between Johannes Stole (Sweden) and Daniel Palmqvist (Norway). The two originally began collaborating in Los Angeles as far back as 1999 under the name Orange Crush, but have only now finally found the time to officially release their music. Not sure why they changed the name to XOrigin, but let’s get to the music.
STATE OF THE ART is being released on Frontiers Records, so you know that it’s going to be melodic, it’s just a question of whether the music will be harder edged like Y&T or ultra-syrupy like Foreigner. As it turns out, the music is incredibly melodic AOR in the style you might expect out of Yes, Giant, Survivor etc. Not exactly your typical fodder for Metal Rules, but there is enough guitar fireworks throughout the album to satisfy. So yes, there are huge swaths of keyboards, crystal clear vocals (both lead and choral) and or course, ballads that would have melted hearts if this were the ‘80s (I can totally see “In the Blink of an Eye” being a prom date song back in the day).
With all that being said, is there ANYTHING here for metal fans? Again, if you occasionally dip into the lighter side of rock, opener “Can’t Keep Running” is an upbeat rocker with a minimum of keyboards, “Too Late” features some quality guitar work, “This Is It” sounds like mildly rocking Stan Bush (laugh if you must, his last album was awesome), and “Said and Done” is decisively guitar-driven.
Truthfully, there’s a ton of music on this album that will actively drive away many listeners and indeed there’s not much in the song writing that makes the album stand out. That said, taken at face value, STATE OF THE ART is a pretty good listen. Lighter-hearted fans will find much to enjoy here, making XOrigin a definite guilty pleasure.