X-PIRAL – Hunters

X-PIRAL - Hunters
  • 8/10
    X-PIRAL - Hunters - 8/10


Burning Star Records
Release date: March 30, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

One must admit that there are numerous Progressive Metal bands out there today that are, well, pretty damned good. There are very well known bands that hail from the U.S., but it seems as if over a short period of time, without even keeping track of things, these same genre bands have been creeping up all over the place, more so abroad than ever. Many of these same bands are extremely talented, and unfortunately many never hear of them or their music. Here is some good news, finally.

X-Piral has hit the mother load. Their latest creation, Hunters, will prove that they belong. These guys are really talented musicians and can play with the best of them.

Simply put, X-Piral is Greece’s Dream Theater. Founded in 2000 by Nick Papanikolaou (lead guitars) and Dimitris Marinis (synth and piano), this band has had its share of changes. The line-up has changed so often that it’s hard to believe the band is still together. It’s also true that X-Piral had broke up and gone their separate ways on numerous occasions. So how did they finally manage to stay together long enough to put out their latest release? Finding just the right personnel, such as Thanos Tzanetopoulos (guitar), Makis Petritsis (bass guitar), and Fragisos Samoilis (drums) was a step in the right direction. Add Michael Apostolakis (vocalist) to the mix, and everything just fell into place. Of course, signing with a new label such as Burning Star Records didn’t hurt.

The band’s first album, Poison Eyes, came out in February 2005, not too long after signing with their new label. It received mixed reviews. After some personnel changes and hard work in the studios, X-Piral has finally outdone themselves with Hunters. It was recorded in Esoteron Studio, Greece, and mixed and mastered in Bazement Studio, Germany, by Marcus Teske — known for his work with Red Circuit, Symphony X, Mob Rules, and Vanden Plas to name a few. It seems as if the choices made in putting this album together are definitely reflected in the final product.

There are 11 tracks on Hunters, lasting around 68:33 and beginning with “.Com-Fusion.” It opens the album with a deep heavy sound for the first minute and ten seconds, and has a person thinking this isn’t Progressive at all. Then the Progressive nature of the band falls into place. Very fast double bass drumming, slow melodic piano, unmistaken vocals, a perfectly placed and good sounding guitar solo, and a keyboard attack all contribute to the making of this track. “Golden Wings” is more Progressive from the start. The vocals along with an 80’s sounding keyboard style and double bass drumming hold the song together. “Fall Into Oblivion” opens to more of a Rock sound, but still has Progressiveness to it. The guitar, bass, powerful drumming, and keyboards have a nice mix integrated together that go well with the strong vocals Michael can put out there. The title track opens with a double bass barrage and guitar attack that is more Hard Rock/Metal than Progressive. “Duat (The Land Of The Dead)” has a very strange and unique opening. It has a Middle Eastern sound to it until the guitars and keyboards change to a barrage of double bass drums and deep bass. This is a very strange, but a very cool song at the same time.

“Timechaser” opens with a very distinctive keyboard pattern being played repetitively. The vocals, drums, bass, and guitar all do their own thing. This is a very strong song on the album. “Powerlust” slows it down a bit with the opening. It presents an orchestral sound to the listener until the power guitar kicks in. Very Hard Rock/Metal guitar style that makes it likeable from the first powerchord. “Hear Me Calling” opens with a slow, but beautiful piano piece and then the vocals kick in. A very nice and different touch from the rest of the album so far … more mellow and kind of heavy at the same time, if one can believe that, and one of the best songs done with feeling. Might be the dark horse of the bunch. Absolutely wonderful guitar solo near the end that is perfectly placed and not over done like so many solos usually are. Very tasteful to say the least, and fabulous guitar playing — might be the album’s best by far. “The Fire Is Burning Bright” opens blazing with keys and double bass. Around the 1:40 mark or so, there is an interesting bass and keyboard thing going on — almost Doors-esque. “Dead Within” has a mellower and slower opening instead of the usual barrage for about ten seconds, then the attack opens fire. Another typical X-Piral type song with the relentless double bass drum, guitar, and keys taking command. “Lie Down Free” opens with some drumming, more drumming, and then even more drumming. What’s with all this drumming all of a sudden? Some Thrash guitar work alongside a second guitar finally decides to join in, giving it a decent Hard Rock/Metal sound and you’ll love the sudden ending.

In a nutshell, nothing too fancy, just a straightforward and real good album that has all the essentials of Rock, Thrash, Hard Rock, Metal, Progressive, Progressive Metal, 80’s Heavy Metal, European Power Metal, and influences from the Finnish, Scandinavian, and American scene. The band has a powerful vocalist, excellent and talented musicians, and a very practiced and tight sound. Anyone with the slightest interest in any form of Progressive sound will not be disappointed with this album/CD.


  • George Fustos

    George was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has engineering degrees in Chemical and Electrical Engineering. He favors Metal, Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Blues, and even some Jazz and Motown (depending on the tune). He used to dabble with the bass quite some time ago. His most influential bassists are Jaco, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Geddy Lee, and John Entwistle (RIP Ox). Band-wise he's really into Rush, Tool, early Metallica, Pink Floyd (including Waters and Gilmour as solo artists), The Who, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Halford, Joe Satriani, certain Judas Priest, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins (Blues guitarist), Motörhead, and a German band called Skew Siskin that Lemmy says in an interview as being "the best band out there today."

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