XIII Minutes – “Obsessed”


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.

Sequenced elements picked up and played over by the band remind me of how nu metal bands like Limp Bizkit used to throw down. “Fragile” also introduces this chorus-effect that felt very Coal Chamber-like. I enjoyed the orchestral touch in “This Life”, introducing elements of the metal ballad, yet retaining that urgency of delivery present up until now.

“Who Told You” has a lighter touch, something between Disciple and My Chemical Romance. I recently watched a review of Children of Bodom’s “Hexed” online. The reviewer commented that musical styles were too varied, but like when I listened to the “Hexed” album, the variations in style on “Obsessed” make sense on the whole. On “Water Vice” that starts out almost pop punk, the gears shift and by the end we’re back in melodeath territory. It’s like the band uses different musical styles in the way a painter mixes hues. At the core, it’s always heavy metal. Jamie, that icy crash that suspends the song for a fraction is excellent!

As I listen to “Reckless Love” I’d like to propose another binary: storm/calm. Thank you for this most excellent journey, XIII Minutes!!

Written by Karakul

“Obsessed” scores 9/10.

1. Sibling Rivalry
2. Victim-Less
3. Self Portrait
4. Machaira
5. Blue Flame
6. Obsessed
7. Fragile
8. This Life
9. Who Told You?
10. Water Vice
11. Out of Time
12. When you Have Suffered
13. Reckless Love

Band members:
Michael Rowley – Vocals
Aaron Smith – Guitars
Jamie Kucinski – Drums

Release Date: April 5th. 2019

Record label: Rottweiler Records

‘Sibling Rivalry’ (Single, June 2017)
‘Machaira’ (Single, Aug. 2017)
‘Obsessed’ (Single, Nov. 2017)
‘Water Vice’ (Single, Aug. 2018)
“Obsessed” (full-length, 2019)

Weblinks: Facebook / Bandcamp iTunes

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Video below “Obsessed” (teaser)

Lyric video for ‘Obsessed’




One Reply to “XIII Minutes – “Obsessed””

  1. Aaron only played bass on three songs on the record. I played the rest and was the only person other than Michael to record Water Vice.

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