Formerly known as A Feast for Kings, XXI announced their signing to Tooth & Nail but two months ago, and are off and running with their 10-song debut, produced by Andrew Baylis. We have a more melodic sound than our past material, explains the band. We will most likely continue to grow in a rock direction as opposed to metal-core moving forward.
Fans may remember the tragic passing of the bands former lead singer Eric Gentry just over a year ago, which inspired the new name and direction (XXI Gentrys age was 21 at the time of his passing). With their recent signing and upcoming album in hand, the band will turn a new page and looks to have an eventful second half of 2015.
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A Rock And Roll Introduction| Posted October 08, 2015 The Pitch: XXI is a new band from Tooth & Nail Records, and this is their hard rock debut.
What Works: With the dearth of new hard rock talent as of late, the field of competition isn't as crowded as it was even a few years ago. This gives XXI a good opening to make an impression. With powerful melodies, vocals that balance clean and gruff masterfully, and guitar work that pounds itself into your ears, Inside Out is a good start.
Lead single "Say It Again" is a well-crafted entry designed to hook listeners. Most of the other songs follow suit, juggling guitar solos and crunchy hooks to create an engaging rock atmosphere. "Way You Love Me" is one of the album's catchiest numbers and will definitely be another radio option down the road.
What Needs Work: I've always found screaming in rock music to be like a strong seasoning: it can enhance a project and add distinct and needed flavor, but an over-abundance could have the opposite effect. I think the screaming in the majority of these songs lack meaning and purpose, especially in some of the tracks that are otherwise softer and more accessible (although I grant it is a stylistic quality that may draw many in). I think, used a bit more sparingly, heavy vocal elements could have had more of an impact emotionally.
I think it also contributes to a bit of a variety issue. While each of the songs are strong individually, together, I found it a bit difficult to differentiate between them as the album progressed.
XXI are a welcome presence in a music scene that seems to be abandoning rock. Hard rock fans finally have a new artist to delve into, and there's a lot of good potential to mine here that offers noteworthy promise and some good guitar-driven fun. While I'd like to see subsequent efforts to work on sonic variety, it's easy to forgive that in a debut. This is a strong introduction, and here's hoping the work that follows builds on this foundation and helps make their stance filling the rock and roll void a long-term proposition.
Song to Download Now:
"Way You Love Me" (Get it on iTunes here.)
XXI is AOK| Posted February 23, 2017
When we are faced with the challenges that come with being a mortal being there can be many outcomes. These young men were dealt a cruel fate in the death of their dear friend and bandmate, lead singer, Eric Gentry. When some choose to hide or mask their pain, these gentlemen sought their solace in the only true one that can heal us YHWH and his son. They also chose to continue on their legacy as a phoenix rises from the ashes. From their former band "A Feast For Kings" rises "XXI" (21 in honor of the age Eric was when he died).
If you like metalcore or any of the subgenres, you will love these guys. They come straight from the heart with lyrics that will move your soul, and riffs that will melt your insides. With maturity I can see these guys filling our metal spirits for many years.
Hang in there through the hard times!