The tragic tale of Cain and Abel is vividly told on XIII Minutes’ “Sibling Rivalry”, off their April 5th debut release, “Obsessed”. It’s a modern sound that reminds me of Soilwork, a great melodeath band from Gothenburg, Sweden. Prepare yourself for an aural onslaught, as the band are quick out the gates on “Victim-Less”. A dual vocal attack is sometimes a gamble in this genre, but here it works well. Mike Rowley does well to pull off both the growl in the verses, as well as singing in the choruses. The guitars are gravelly and aggressive, and the overall impression is of precision. The bass rattles in the middle of the mix, and I’m impressed by its presence. Wait a minute! The bio lists Aaron Smith on guitars – no mention of bass. Is it that he plays all the guitars (incl. bass guitar), or are they like alt rockers The Early Years who ditched the bass altogether?
An off-kilter “Self Portrait” is a nod to the peculiar Mr. Bungle, and here it sounds like they double-tracked Michael Rowley’s deep growl, the bottom register an ominous presence on this track. In their biography, they make mention of several dichotomies that include darkness/light, evil/good and sin/redemption. The voice embodies these opposites very effectively. The title track is killer. The guitar is strident, and Jamie Kucinski’s drumming injects the song with manic energy. Ah, and now there is no question! The bass is definitely present and accounted for. So, another question. With one vocalist, how do they do the trading off of screams in the climax? In my view, it’s testament to quality production work in the studio.