XIII – North Of Nowhere

North Of Nowhere
Due For Release: 21st July
Thrash Metal/Yorkshire Metal

North of Nowhere - Copy

XIII – a number that’s been associated with ill luck and evil since the Code of Hammurabi, which apparently had the 13th law omitted – are a thrash trio hailing from Hull, East Yorkshire. Originally a four piece act, the band parted with one of their guitarists earlier this year and decided to continue as a trio. The rather nihilistically titled North Of Nowhere is the band’s debut album.

The aptly named Triskaidekaphobia (which means a fear of the number thirteen) kick starts the album with a fast paced guitar section before an assault of thrashy goodness blasts through the speakers. The vocals are more on the shouty side of things, though don’t take that to be a bad thing as they suit the fierce use of riffs and drum patterns rather well, especially during the chorus. Speaking of the chorus, the band utilise an adept use of licks between the vocals during the chorus. The solo disappointed me, as I felt it didn’t have that raw, callous feel or sound that I’m used to, having seen XIII perform on more than a few occasions. The radio voiceover that follows towards the end of the track adds a post-apocalyptic essence to the album that skillfully leads into the next part of the album; Breaking Point. I found the song to be not as energetic as the opening song but more aggressive than a bulldog chewing on a wasp (I realise that’s not a pleasant thing to imagine but I assure you, I mean it in a good way).

Retribution is surprisingly a relaxed composition, beginning with a subtle use of cymbals and epic guitar medleys and gentle, caressing vocals before evolving into a punchier piece with harsher vocals and staunch riffs. Like Triskaidekaphobia, Retribution ends with a radio voiceover, only this one carries on into The Longest Day, a song with as much bite as a zombie apocalypse. The vocals and riffs bounce off each other, while there’s a use of more chilled riffs and medleys in other sections of the song, keeping a certain diversity within the sound. Fahrenheit’s introduction sounds rather weak, lacking certain elements to keep the pulse of the music from dying out. The use of radio voice overs during the music makes it feel like some sort of post-apocalyptic or post-nuclear war world while the vocals keep the song modern and the guitars bring about a grim sound.

Down N’ Out takes up a callous, old school thrash sound with dashings of more adventurous stylings and influences whilst the vocals sound rather much like the Beasty Boys, in a strange yet enjoyable way. The Beaten Path has a unique introduction, beginning slow and august-like creating a cold, nihilistic feeling that resonates from the music and vocals. The song is almost sludgey in its style and composition, not that there’s any complaints coming from me on that matter. Unlucky For Some, the bingo calling for the number 13, sounds like an energy drink has been added to the album as the tempo has increased dramatically compared to the song track, as has the level of violence in the music. The solo really stands out on the track, taking on a life of its own whilst staying true to the song.

North Of Nowhere is definitely one of the best tracks on the entire album. The song balances a violent nature with nihilistic embraces and brutal sounds. Eclipse has a unique sound, beginning with the sound of people possibly rioting followed by a hard, thrashing rock influence. The vocals shine through the music, with the music emphasising them, while the music in its own right has its own distinct sound as well. Fuckin’ Scum is one of my favourite tracks by XIII and always keeps me happy when they play it live, so I’ll admit I was more than pleased when I found it on the album. The vocals, like one of the previous songs, take on a Beasty Boys style, only more angry and violent, like a bulldog that’s about to rip off your arms. The riffs range from slow and vicious to faster ad heavier, making it an addictive track to say the least.

When God is Gone… The Devil Takes Hold… is definitely the one track truly void of any hopeful feelings. Despite it’s faux-gentle beginning, the song is an explosion of different musical stylings and lyrics generate the feeling of failing hope whilst avoiding turning into some dodgy emo song. Some of the riffs and vocal sections are very poignant and stay with you long after listening. The album comes to an end with Forever, which is also the 13th track on the album – Nice to see they keep the concept of 13 flowing through. The song itself is different from the rest of the album, making use of soft vocals, piano and guitars as well as a guest appearance by Pastel Jack frontman Neil Bailey, whose vocals accompany XIII’s frontman Dan’s vocals superbly well, like a well trained choir. The track has a chilling embrace to it that is echoed through the piano. Forever ends with the last radio voiceover of the album.

XIII have created a strange but adventurous album in the form of North of Nowhere. Where as I expected to find a purely thrash-only record, I was greeted by different sounds that did much to entice the ears; from Beasty Boys-like vocal work to violent and destructive riffs and drum work. For the most part, the album was more enjoyable than any regular thrash album and I can see a bright future in the world of metal for XIII.


Nico Davidson

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2 Responses to “XIII – North Of Nowhere”

  1. […] a year ago since XIII released their debut album, North of Nowhere (Review of which can be found here). The Hull 3 piece metallers are back, this time with their new 5 track EP, Deeds of the saints: […]

    • mark russell Says:

      I have been following this band for about 18 months and they sure as hell rock the shit out of hull and I love it \m/

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