Xenotaph – “Rock Is The Force” (Non Nobis Productions)
Wow – I mean, wow, this blew me away considering it came all the way from Argentina and also has a chick vocalist! Despite the wimpy album title this is an absolute barn stormer of a true metal album that sounds like Di’anno era Maiden once again (if only – Ed) suavely mixed with the feisty femme rock of Hellion. Vocalist Danielle Benvenuti has the power and piercing range in her clean vocals to match the hammering rhythms and no nonsense headbanging riffs on fist banging songs like ‘Aztec Serpent’, ‘Fight The Beast’ and ‘Countess Of Salem’. Going beyond their aggression, Xenotaph’s material also contains trademark heavy metal melodies but also some very catchy punk like harmonies in Danielle’s vocals that work a treat just like they did back in the 80s. Fortuitously, the underground low budget production actually adds to the band’s in your face sound and the tightness of the band – as well as their undeniable talent – carry them through this is jaw dropping 7 track debut. If Xenotaph had been around in the 80s they would’ve easily been up there with the then contenders of today’s NWOHBM legends cos they are pure heavy metal heaven.