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  • Artist: X Factor X
  • Label: Indie
  • Genre: Hard Rock / heavy Metal
  • Release Date: 1997

    "Even as the hard rock charts are dominated by the dark and surly likes of Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, the signs are everywhere that a change could be in the offering. After all, the current wave of '80s nostalgia must mean something, right? Regardless, there's finally a band that has figured out how to marry the melodic sounds of '80s hard rock with the dark lyrical matter of popular '90s metal. That band is X Factor X, whose new self-titled album will likely appeal to fans of '80s metal and '90s alternative alike. Those craving for a fix of a melodic yet crashing combo of drums and guitars will be satisfied, as will those searching for some morbid yet non-threatening music for a spooky Halloween party. Those who enjoy some solid musicianship and literate songwriting will be pleased as well. Guitarist John Bruno, drummer Tony Mei, and bassist Chris McCarvill feed off each other like well-oiled machines, while vocalist Andre Vanchot's operatic delivery (think King Diamond) is a near perfect match for the dark illusions in the 11 songs on X Factor X. It may be inaccurate to call the songwriting on XFactorX demonic, but the songs certainly deal with the wrong side of good and evil. The thing with X Factor X, though, is you can't quite gather which side of the fence they reside on. On "The Scream," the point of view is from the evil one: "I pull the sheets down off your trembling body/ Now you've got nowhere to hide...You Scream/ When you look at me inside you/ You'll see a spray of crimson drowns your cries." The narrator on "Nightmare 7," meanwhile, is a man in the midst of losing his mind.

    On the other songs, though, X Factor X plays the role of saddened observer looking at a world destroyed by evil. Tracks such as "Lie" and "Kingdom" blast harmful and do-nothing political leaders, while "Shadow" is a solemn wonder about the randomness of life. X Factor X can also let it all hang out as it does on "Playing With Fire" and "B.A.M.F." The latter is an acronym Ass" (you, alas, have to guess what the last two letters stand for), and it's the heaviest song on the record. X Factor X is similar in many ways to another semi-local band, Long Island's Dream Theater.

    Each band is comprised of talented musicians, and each song contains carefully crafted arrangements and intricate songwriting. The difference between the bands is that Dream Theater evokes more, well, dreamlike images of otherworldly states while X Factor X evokes the nightmarish, dangerous images. But X Factor X manages to do it in a melodic and relatively non-menacing way, and after a few listens to their enjoyable and solid debut album, you really begin to believe they could be on to something here."

    Band members:
    Andre' Vanchot - Voice
    John Bruno - Guitar
    Chris McCarvill - Bass
    Tony Mei - Drums

X Factor X - X Factor X (CD) (1997 Indie)

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