From Kirov, Russia comes a musical group you might not be aware of. This could possibly be because of their musical style, not exactly the most creative formula I’ve heard, but I guess you could say it is “unique”. A few times, Xe-NONE has sounded somewhat similar to aggrotech groups such as “Psyclon Nine” or “Combichrist”, but I say unique because most of their material has a much more up-beat techno electronic dance sound. This is not a uniqueness that seems to be generating many waves though, and it becomes obvious once their material reaches your ears. I wasn’t aware of Xe-NONE until METALSUCKS created an article bashing them back in early 2010, posting the music video for their single “Angels“. It was the most horrendous musical concoction I’ve heard since BrokeNCYDE, but thankfully much more tolerable.
Xe-NONE is labeled as a genre of music called “Dance Metal”, as they have taken heavy metal and electronic dance and combined them. I don’t see this fusion genre taking off anytime soon, and if it does chances are it will die off faster than Nu-Metal. Xe-NONE is fronted by Lexy Dance, the male vocalist providing growl/scream vocals and programming. Dance is joined by Newman who is also responsible for programming and the electronic synth work, [Fucker] on guitar, and Push on drums. Lastly, EvilAnn is the female clear vocals. Together, they will make you laugh, cry, and even pack a few surprises at times.
When I got a hold of Xe-NONE’s latest release, “Dancefloration“, I was very worried for the work that was ahead of me. I’ll admit the only song from them I had heard before “Dancefloration” was “Angels“, but that song alone will brand anyone with fear and doubt. The album wanders here and there, more focus on the heavy metal influence, then more focus on the electronic synth work to the point where it feels like you should be breaking out into dance with glow sticks at the nearest club. The biggest surprise came at the end of the album just when I thought I had heard enough. Now as I said before, I find this fusion of genres awful, but when I really listen and picked it apart, there was at least a little good to be found.
Now first, with Lexy Dance, we have heavy metal growl/scream vocals you have probably heard a million times, sounds very generic. The other vocalist, EvilAnn, it is rather difficult to place her vocal abilities. At times she seems to be on pitch and flow well enough with the music itself. Then there are moments where her voice sounds a bit out of control, random short fits of tone deafness. Now I will admit it is an improvement from past work like the very laughable chorus from “Angels“, but unfortunately it can be just as irritating to listen to. An observation that someone had made months ago, the best one I’ve heard, EvilAnn’s voice could honestly draw all the neighbor’s cats to your front door in heat.
So there is not much to be found in the vocal abilities of Xe-NONE, where is this good that I found? Now don’t take me for an elitist, I do listen to a great deal of industrial metal and music, different branches of trance, and even some aggrotech. I am just not buying into their combination of techno electronic synth work and heavy metal. There are times where both genres complement each other and work together to show some promise that maybe “Dancefloration” will finally head into a good direction. Unfortunately it never fully grasps a hold of that direction, with simple metal guitar and drum tracks being taken over by a fast and overpowering electronic beat. “Dancefloration” leaves you with an awkward look and mixed feelings until you finally reach the final track. That is when it becomes VERY surprising and you check to see if it is in fact “Dancefloration” still playing.
With the last track, “Blood Fire Snow“, it’s as if the band decided to play to their full potential and really let the heavy metal influence shine through. The vocals are still just as lackluster, but the instrumentals themselves really pack a punch and surprise you. “Blood Fire Snow” opens with the sound of wind blowing, then forty seconds later you will receive a very shocking surprise. Leaving their dancing shoes at home, this track is pure heavy metal, blast beats and barely any electronica at all, just a simple piano. Aside from the chorus, “Blood Fire Snow” sounds similar to work you would expect from Cradle of Filth, subtracting the heavy gothic feel, and vocals that sound as if to serenade cats rather than a strangling feline. As shocked as I was that nearly all of the songs where practically dance parties, and to have the album finish on such a heavy metal note, I was also rather impressed. I honestly never took Xe-NONE serious and did not think they had it in them. The song honestly showed a bit of potential. If they stuck to the musical style in “Blood Fire Snow“, they might earn some form of a fighting chance.
Overall, the only enjoyment I got from “Dancefloration” was the surprise with the final track, and the fact that it was the final track. I would not suggest picking this album up, unless you want to find something perfect to blast and annoy those around you. To get a good feel of this album for the review, I listened to “Dancefloration” a total of three times. I wanted to stab myself in the jaw at times.