For Whose Advantage? reviews
Felix%201666 on August 3rd, 2017
Day of the double X (3/5): For your advantage
Xentrix returned with "For Whose Advantage?" after a strong debut and a shitty EP. It was nice to see that the "Ghost Busters" disaster did not work as an omen for the here presented vinyl which holds nine tracks. (It does not contain the cover version and after their glorious execution of "Ghost Busters", I am really happy about this fact.) "For Whose Advantage?" does not want to entertain the audience with comical songs. It spreads serious, slightly dark vibes due to a great number of typical yet crisp riffs.
Xentrix enter the stage with intelligently designed, robust thrash tunes. The title track finds the perfect balance between complexity and accessibility and the playtime of more than six minutes is definitely not too long for this very interesting piece. Xentrix still play Testament-like thrash, not with ferocious power, but with methodical precision. Although the album was already released in 1990, the songs still sound lively and any form of rancidity is missing. This does not mean that each and every piece will take your breath away. "Bitter End", for example, does not reach out for the stars in the thrash metal firmament. One listens to a solid number, no more no less, which is followed by a soft and dubious intermezzo, that does not add value to the album.
But the majority of the tunes is just great. "Kept in the Dark" builds up tension right from the beginning with a brisk bass and sawing guitars. Its dynamic tempo changes and the catchy chorus are further reasons why this song stands out. But even the closer provides an adequate degree of combativeness and musicality. Moreover, the rapid and sharp beginning of "Desperate Remedies" is trying to pretend that one listens to a song of Holy Moses which was mysteriously not taken into consideration for the final version of "Finished with the Dogs" or "The New Machine of Liechtenstein". Generally speaking, Xentrix do not offer fast food, they have carefully cooked a delicate meal. Aggressive sections dominate, but a few less harsh moments give the guitars room to develop their full effect. "False Ideals", for instance, starts with a pretty restrained yet very memorable part. Afterwards the band starts a proper riff orgy, And, as almost always, the band has an eye on the chorus. It possesses a brilliant melody and structures the entire track very well.
Just like the aforementioned Testament, the guys from the United Kingdom do not present songs that suffer from a substandard production. "For Whose Advantage?" convinces with a warm, well defined sound that puts the guitars in the spotlight. It is a typical (great) mix that tells each and everybody in a matter of seconds that he or she is listening to a thrash album. Maybe one can say that the vinyl would have benefitted from a pinch of additional aggression, but this is only an irrelevant detail at the end. No doubt, Xentrix consolidated their position with their second full-length.
Soul%20of%20the%20Woods on May 27th, 2014
Kept in the Dark
For Whose Advantage? is one of those albums that never received the praise and attention it deserved. Overshadowed, by more commercially successful albums released by more commercially successful thrash metal bands it was left to collect dust on the shelves. Would I call the album a masterpiece of thrash metal? No, not really. However, declaring it anything less than excellent would be a crime in my book.
For Whose Advantage? rarely hovers above mid-pace, the only tracks I can think of that rise above this speed are "Desperate Remedies" and "Black Embrace". The album is also rather tame and mellow compared to its thrash metal contemporaries. The bass is rather standard for thrash metal, decent, but with little room to shine. The drumming is what you would really expect from a mid-paced thrash band, the beats are mainly standard, but there are some creative ones scattered throughout the album. The vocalist reminds me of James Hetfield since they have a similar snarly tone when singing. All he's really missing is the constant "yeah". The lyrics are rather typical for thrash metal, having mostly to do with being against corporations and the corrupt government.
So you may be asking how I gave the album such a high score if the drumming, vocals, bass, and lyrics are rather standard. The answer is the riffs. This is a riff-centric album. The majority of the riffs are extremely melodic with somewhat of a technical edge. There are also your more standard mid-paced, groovy thrash riffs. The riffs are rather light compared to that of other thrash metal bands, in fact, the entire album is rather light by thrash metal standards, but it does not really affect my score. A perfect example of what the riffage in this album will be like is the song "Questions". "Desperate Remedies" is probably the best example of Xentrix in fast-mode. The technical edge the riffs have and their catchiness ultimately keeps the album interesting and makes for a good listen.
While not exactly a classic in any respect Xentrix's For Whose Advantage? definitely delivers the goods, staying decently interesting thought the album's run time. The framework may be standard, but the end result is a highly melodic, catchy, anti-corporate adventure. Maybe it is better that this album is kept in the dark so it can be listened to by those who will appreciate it for what it is. I recommend this album to anyone who is into thrash and/or melodic music.
autothrall on December 11th, 2010
Of high rises and handsome suits
As cheesy as its anti-corporate implications might seem, I've always found the cover to Xentrix' sophomore album to be quite iconic, so it's only too fitting that the musical content of the album itself is the best the band has ever written. There's both an increase in overall riffing and structural quality here, not to mention a damp, punchy tone to the guitars which imbues them with this condensed, thrash gait that really gets on well with Chris Astley's vocals. There's also a clinical, technical advancement to the performances which is simply more interesting that what was found on Shattered Existence. Of course, there are still clear similarities to bands like Testament or Metallica, but it's obvious the band were starting to depart from such well tread waters into their own little niche, which I dare say even brings in the influence of more locally grown Euro thrash like Destruction.
It helps that the record begins with such an excellent song in "Questions", probably my personal favorite of the band's career, edging out "Balance of Power" from the debut. A nice, harsh chorus melody to the vocals, surging and devious riffs that spike in tiny, dire melodies. "For Whose Advantage?" is another great track, with a mellow bass intro and an almost melancholy sense of desperation to the open, simple riffs. Tracks like "The Human Condition" and "Black Embrace" maintain the power level of "Questions" with similar setups in the guitar, and though it might come as unexpected, the cover of Gillan's "Running White Face City Boy" is not so bad. There are a few tunes here which don't deliver quite the same level of thrills, namely "The Bitter End" or "Kept in the Dark", but in the end they're not far enough behind to really drag down the overall effort that much, and you can usually listen through For Whose Advantage? front to back and come out the richer.
I'm going to admit that England gets a bit of a by when it comes to the thrash metal genre, as their later 70s, early 80s heavy/speed metal was partially responsible for its creation, so the fact that there aren't a hell of a lot of releases of note to wag my dick at does not disappoint me. You have some pretty huge exceptions in a Sabbat, Pariah or Onslaught, but Xentrix is yet another name to bandy about, and For Whose Advantage? is probably the best album to start with. The debut is solid, undoubtedly, but it's not nearly as interesting as this, and the band had clearly begun to evolve into something greater. Unfortunately, this is also where the momentum halts, because the albums to come would not be this good. Kin does continue along in a similar fashion, but it's not as hard hitting, so creatively and riff for riff, this remains their peak.
morbert on April 13th, 2010
Starting to sound too American but still good
As I said in my review of their Shattered Existence debut, Xentrix have always had a soft spot for Metallica and it showed more than once. They made it into their own form of laid back thrash with some great NWOBHM harmonies leads and harmonies thrown in on their slower songs. Here on ‘For Whose Advantage’ vocalist Chris Astley still has Hetfield’s ghost looking over his shoulder but the music has gotten much more Bay Area influenced.
There’s even a vocal rhythm on ‘Black Embrace’ to which I always continue by shouting ‘A Trial By Fire’. Well, wrong band obviously, but that says enough about the feeling this album gives more than. A lot of New Order-Practice What You Preach era Testament haunting these songs and more than once thrash breaks and hooks reminding me of Evil Dead’s Annihilation Of Civilisation look around the corner. Hell, on some instrumental sections I even get the feeling I’m listening to Defiance (who were Metallica fanboys from the Bay Area, so no wonder) or even Atrophy due to some staccato riffs with gang shouts.
No, this is not a complaint since I have a real soft spot for the eighties Bay Area sound but Xentrix were onto concerning a British thrash touch on their debut which now seems totally lost. This album could definitely have done with more of those great harmonies or catchy choruses.
The album does not feature any real standout tracks but as a whole it’s a nice laid back thrash experience with some excesses. Nothing bad about ‘For Whose Advantage? Nor anything even remotely classic. Just decent.
DGYDP on July 2nd, 2008
For YOUR advantage!
Xentrix always had a unique vibe to them that not a single other band seemed to possess. I'm not sure how they managed to do this nor what it actually contains; but it makes the band unique and entertaining. Unlike many of their contemporaries these guys don't limit themselves to copying other thrash bands. The highlight of their career is found on this record: For Whose Advantage? It is their most popular release and rightfully so.
What we find here are nice melodic intros, good thrash riffs, a lead guitar that takes care of melodies and one hell of an awesome vocalist. Xentrix are very far away from being brutal or particularly aggressive, they are more on the lighter side of thrash (where we find other albums such as Artillery's By Inheritance or Testament's The New Order). They have noticeable progressive rock influences as found in Heathen's albums as well as a tasteful use of melody that many thrash bands seem to lack.
The production is cleaner than it's predecessor (Shattered Existence) and this is a good thing because it fits the music better. Thanks to the good production we can clearly distinguish the good, pounding bass lines that reminded me of Steve Harris upon first listen. The vocalist sounds somewhat like Chuck Billy, in a good way. The riffing is awesome too and will certainly be liked by fans of more melodic thrash, as well as fans of fast pure thrash/speed metal. The solos are good too yet never especially spectacular, which goes for the drumming as well.
- melodic parts that work.
- great vocals.
- good thrash riffs and good solos.
- original, unique sound.
- amazing bass lines.
- excellent clean production.
- seems somewhat repetitive at times, perhaps they should have made this a bit shorter.
- the last song, "Running White-Face City Boy" which is catchy and fun on the first listen but gets really annoying after a while.
To sum it all up; this is a good melodic thrash album which is recommended to all thrashers!
whiplash50 on February 9th, 2005
Uk thrash attack!
The band's second full length is an excellent example of how UK thrash bands were on top of their game in the late 80's/early 90's (reanimator, acid reign, etc.). Although it isn't as fast paced as the previous release, this still has many strong points. Sounding somewhat like label mates Annihilator at the time, these guys delivered no joke, hands down thrash metal with lots of attitude. Vocalist/guitarist Chris Astley has one of the coolest gruff sounding voices I've ever heard, perhaps souding like cross between voivod's snake a little without the accent, and pete steel when he was in carnivore but that's kinda off because Astley is pretty damn original, and Kristian Harvard is a phenomenal lead guitarist. Dennis Gasser is too fast on drums, and Paul Mackenzie backs em up with strong bass riffing. One might say this particular album sounds somewhat like the aforementioned Annihilator, metallica, acid reign and late eighties megadeth a little, riff-wise only. Stand out songs would include 'for whose advantage', for the cool bass intro, 'the bitter end' for all the nicely executed change ups, and 'black embrace' for the pure energy it gives off. Plenty of non-stop fast paced riffs and drumming on these ones, but there's absolutely no room for fillers here though, just quality music through and through. My only reason for 97 instead of 100 is that it' so good it needed just one more song! 97/100
overkill67 on September 25th, 2004
For Your Advantage To Aquire!
With their career spanning just about 10 years and a rather impressive array of albums, this one is surely their most popular. For Whose Advantage, is probably Xentrix's most consistent album. Although their are some better songs to be found on some of their other discs, such as "Balance of Power" or "Order Of Chaos". This album doesn't have any particularly weak tracks, hence the fact that you can listen to it from beginning to end and appreciate each and every song as they unfold.
If this band was attempting to emulate the Bay Area sound with this album, they did one hell of a job. This is about as close to the Bay Area thrash sound you'll ever hear from a band that wasn't from the Bay Area. As mentioned in a previous review of this band, "Sweet Vengeance" used to be a Metallica cover band. It would seem as though this band was oblivious to anything that Metallica released after ...And justice for all, since their is a large comparison between Metallica's earlier offerings and this bands song writting on this album. Once again, produced by John Cuniberti, the guitars sound fairly thick and the drums and bass are both audible and tight sounding. Overall not a bad production, a couple of toms could've been tweaked a wee bit, but this was released in 90.
The song writting has reached a peak for the band, as well as the riffs that are above average and definately don't make the listener feel as if they'd been short changed. Great guitar solos and some very cool melodic interludes here and there.
Highlight tracks to watch out for; False Ideals, For Whose Advantage, Desperate Remedies, Questions.
For Whose Advantage? track list
|2||For Whose Advantage?||06:21|
|3||The Human Condition||03:37|
|5||The Bitter End||05:18|
|8||Kept in the Dark||04:13|
|10||Running White Faced City Boy (Gillan cover)||02:46|
For Whose Advantage? lineup
|Chris Astley||Vocals, Guitars (rhythm)|
|Kristian "Stan" Havard||Guitars (lead)|
|Paul "Macka" MacKenzie||Bass|