When one thinks of Brazil, one thinks of the Copacabana and football. However, the South American country also has a large and active metal scene and therefore also bands in all shapes and sizes. One of these bands is XFears. Formed in 2002, but due to all kinds of circumstances, the time and opportunity has finally been found to release their debut album. This 5 musicians brings progressive metal in their own jacket. The debut album is called The First, will be released independently, and will have its official debut on August 15, 2021. XFears introduces us to 9 new songs that together have a playing time of more than 42 minutes.
The First opens with a musical intro, mainly played by singer and keyboardist Gabriel Carvalho. What follows is Take Control. A rhythmic song that immediately sets the tone. The somewhat menacing guitars, smooth drums and the raw edge to Gabriel Carvalho’s voice are easy on the ear. When Hell Is Here opens, you will notice that the keys again open the track. Douglas Tognoni’s drums are of a high level and the same can be said of the guitar and bass guitar work. In the distance it evokes some memories of bands like Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica.
No Regrets and I See are the next two songs on the album. Both songs are lyrically well composed and once again the voice of Carvalho comes to the fore. No Regrets is a song with tempo changes and nice vocals and together with I See these songs evoke associations with bands from the 80s. The clear guitar solos and long outbursts evoke a lot of recognition, while there is still a contemporary touch to it. The guitar solos and low-key drumming reinforce that feeling. Endavour and Believe In Nothing once again showcase the musical qualities of XFears. By now you can say that the keys of XFears play a prominent role in the music. Once again the guitar solos are prominent, but it is never disturbing. These songs also give some recognition to music from the early 90s, but it feels like a contemporary twist.
The last two songs from The First are Prelude To Pain and The Worst Pain with the latter being the best track on the album in my opinion. In this more than seven minutes long track, XFears shows everything they have to offer. Again the keys get a prominent role as well as the guitar solos but it fits these Brazilians like a glove. It is fair to say that if you don’t like this style, everything may feel like too much.
XFears delivers a strong and good album with The First. Perhaps best described as 80s progressive rock with a modern Brazilian metal twist. For people who appreciate progressive rock from the 80s and 90s, The First is a wonderful and strong introduction to this South American quintet. For people who don’t like this, it can get boring quickly. All songs are very accessible, lyrically and musically the album is well thought out and there are some brilliants like Hell Is Here and The Worst Pain. XFears sets the standard for the future!
Gabriel Carvalho – Vocals, Keyboard
Marcelo Monteiro – Guitar
Gilmar Cazagrande – Guitar
Ricardo AP Roque – Bas
Douglas Tognoni – Drums
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If you want to know what XFears is all about, please watch one of the following videos!