XVII – Bow To ME
Kidderminster five-piece heavy metal band, XVII, release their second EP titled Bow To Me. The band promises loud, fast, hard-hitting metal, which is immediately appealing to the desired audience.
Releasing EP’s, rather than albums, can make it difficult to establish a sound, or display development and progression. The first thing to note is the number of tracks on the EP. At just three, some may find it minimal. Saying that, each track is a good length and, in my personal opinion, I would rather listen to an EP with fewer, well-composed tracks than see substandard tracks added. This is the approach taken by XVII and it is appreciated. Each track has clearly been considered, tinkered and collated to ensure they are songs the band can be proud to call their own. The attention to detail, including in the production, is admirable and helps absorb you into the music. The panning from side to side on the bass in first track is a great example of this. Simple it may be, but it’s just a juicy nugget that adds that bit of extra fizz.
It’s no surprise that first track, Shatter The Waves, has been released as the single from the EP. It delivers on all the promises of fast, hard-hitting metal. The classic sounding guitar riff leading to the strong, aggressive vocals and snappy drums are sure to satisfy heavy metal fanatics. Maintaining interest and flow in a high tempo song of over five minutes in length requires serious skill, but is achieved brilliantly with a number of sections providing well-needed contrast. The half-time sections and sections with fast, driving guitars interject the riffy verses nicely.
The title track, Bow To Me, introduces clean vocals. Though not as strong as the scream vocal, with the backing harmonies, they create an eerie feel which makes a personal connection with the meaningful lyrics. The balance to the track, with the texture slightly thinned by a lead guitar line throughout most of the song, is perhaps the best on the EP.
The final track, scorned, is pleasingly melodic. Sure to be a fan favourite to scream along with. The 6:8 breakdown leading into the tempo increase towards the end is a fantastic bit of composition.
There is much to appreciate from a musicianship point of view. The rhythm section is tight, the guitar riffs are good, there is nice balance of unison and lead/rhythm parts, the vocals are powerful and, in some cases, the backing vocals are almost more fierce than the lead vocal. The EP is very well produced and the attention to detail in the composition of the songs is commendable.
The Bow To Me EP would be befitting of any metal fan’s collection. I know I said earlier that I’d rather have three great tracks than extra sub-standard tracks, which is entirely true, however, I was left wanting more! Hopefully there will be much more to come from XVII, even if just to render me satisfied.