Formed in 2011 by vocalist Mattia Briggi, Italian rockers X-Ray Life merge an appealing blend of hard rock, grunge, and blues into a release which captures the imagination and leaves behind strong satisfaction. Their self-titled debut album is an enthused and accomplished slab of rock which though it does not set any major fires burning certainly holds its own with skill and enterprise.
From Venezia, the quintet of Briggi, guitarists Corrado Ricucci and Giovanni Zanardo, bassist Matteo Rugliancic, and drummer Matteo Boranga, since forming has made steady progress within their homeland with their live performances winning many competitions and providing a song for a few compilation albums. Bringing essences from alternative rock and grunge to their own intent the band has a sound and style which combines nineties bands from Seattle and modern hard rock. Released via Atomic Stuff Records, their album has all the weaponry to further the presence of the band within Europe and beyond, its eleven songs keen and finely crafted slabs of honest rock n roll.
The punchy Machine Gun Kelly starts things off on the album with a combative edge to its energy and a fiery groove which engages immediately within the infection of grazing sound. The vocals also carry a boisterousness to match the sounds and though at moments their delivery is weaker than in other parts, The Stone Temple Pilots feel of the track allows the discrepancy to pass by and makes for a good start to the release.
The following Everyone is A Star and Coma Like A Dream soon raise levels with their compelling sounds. The first is a prowling taunt upon the ear with a sturdy attitude coated bass and a mischievously teasing groove whilst the second is a contagious stomp of irresistible bulging rhythms and choppy agitated riffs. Both tracks are flush with impressive musicianship and hypnotic lures which are irresistible in their raw and uncluttered form with Coma Like A Dream one of the stand out invitations upon the album, and since forming has been the first track to initiate bringing attention to the band. Hey is a further pinnacle on the album, its absorbing intimidating groove and rasping effect coated vocals a snarl within the riot tempting rhythms and guitar abrasion. It is an excellent track which can be described as Velvet Revolver meets Temple of the Dog with a core of punk to its deliberate aggressive intent.
The sizzling blues/stoner wash of Lay On You and the classic rock/garage edge to Devil On Earth both offer decisive variety within the album and though they do not reach the levels of passion as inspired by earlier songs they are full of enjoyable invention and energy. With also tracks like Sad and 665 Inside, the album does dip in from its initial height in its middle, though each track is still a rewarding encounter, but regains its rung with the excellent Charlie The Shepherd. The song is a brawling furnace of acidic melodies soaked up by adrenaline fuelled storms of riffs, guitar lashes, and rhythmic intensity; dirty and insatiable the track is a bruising rock n roll stampede of energy.
Though it ends with its weakest track The Last Song, the album is a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying release with plenty of strong rewards, including a great cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, Susie Q. X-Ray Life is a band who knows how to create potent rock sounds and how to use them for an exciting time, an experience we all have a liking for.
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