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Vocalist and guitarist Rex Scott is one of the unsung heroes within the metal and hard rock genres. The artist is best known for his work in two bands from the eighties that did not always get the credit they deserved, Zion and X-Sinner. The former put out its debut Thunder From The Mountain in 1989 but disbanded before it could record a follow up release- and generate a larger following in the process. The latter might have been better known, Scott joined X-Sinner in time to participate on its 1991 sophomore album Peace Treaty, but was placed on hold at just the moment it was gaining momentum (partially explained by the burgeoning grunge scene of the time). X-Sinner remained on hiatus until 2006 when it resurfaced with a re-worked version of Peace Treaty under the new title Fire It Up and its third full length album from 2008, World Covered In Blood.
GX Project is the latest musical endeavor from the artist. A joining of Scott and Canadian guitarist Glenn Thomas, GX Project stays true to the AC/DC influenced sounds of X-Sinner on its spring of 2012 full length debut Bite Stick. Yes, the album reinforces its share of AC/DC undercurrents, but that would only be telling part of the story in that you will also encounter the occasional bluesy hard rock moment hinting of early nineties Bride in addition to some eighties metal swagger not unlike Main Line Riders and Whitecross. Throw in the raw energy of Fire It Up and World Covered In Blood and you have a creative merging of several styles to form a cohesive whole.
What sets GX Project apart is how it makes use of backing vocals, which lend a slight commercial element to its sound. Imagine the debut X-Sinner album Get It but with the guitars re-tracked to reflect greater edge and bite and backing vocals diminished to more tolerable levels (Backing vocals are fine as long as they do not dominate. And that is what has always bothered me about Get It- the album is drenched in so much gloss and polish it takes away from the bands natural energy). Finally, replace original X-Sinner vocalist Dave Robbins with Scott and you have the gritty and catchy sounds that are GX Project!
Songwriting is spot on throughout. Bite Stick presents with no skip button worthy material.
The fact is there are some killer tracks here, starting with the huge hooks to hard rock anthem ?Let?s Turn It Up? and bass guitar driven ?Love I.V.? (It is on these two in w hich that eighties metal swagger makes its presence felt). If interested in a blues heavy sound then look no further than monstrous plodder ?OMG? along with the laid back catchiness of ?Bite The Hand That Feeds? and traditional bluesy elements to ?Get Me Outa This Hell?. ?Angry Eyes? and ?Soul Stealer? represent quintessential examples of catchy hard rock done GX Project style.
Also quite good is the upbeat energy of groove driven pieces ?Gotta Get Some Love and Long Way Down (more eighties influences found on both) in addition to the mid-paced rumblings of Waitin? On J.C.? and ?Tricky Little Devil? (two more reflecting a bluesy touch).
Rex Scott continues to bring the Brian Johnson influenced vocal approach he debuted on World Covered In Blood. Similar to WCIB, he stays mostly in lower register territory in delivery the same type of bristling and powerful performance. All around job well done, although at times he can sound a bit strained when going for a high note, but take this with a grain of salt in that I am not a connoisseur of the AC/DC vocal style. So my advice would be to get the album and verify first hand, particularly if an AC/DC fan.
Glenn Thomas also puts in a strong performance on guitar, proving a fine player in complementing the material here with his razor edged playing. One reviewer, however, went to far as to compare him to Eddie Van Halen. Without a doubt Thomas has his moments (check out his soloing on ?Gott Get Some Love?), but unless your last name happens to be Carroll, Grimmark, Impellitteri, Belew or Perahia, then the Van Halen comparison is more than likely unwarranted. So let?s not get ahead of ourselves guys, OK?
Production features a bit more polish than that of WCIB (observation and not critique) but is not laid on so thick as to diminish the high energy GX Project sound. Again, this is how Get It should have been done.
The lone complaint revolves around packaging. Yes, I like the album artwork, but the single sided insert (lacking lyrics and detailed liner notes- who plays drums on the project?) leaves somewhat desired.
Rex Scott might not always have received the credit he deserved during his time with Zion and X-Sinner - again, talented bands that lacked the longevity to gain the following of some - but GX Project is certain to garner him some much needed acclaim. When factoring in the contributions of Glenn Thomas, the two have composed enough quality material for Bite Stick to potentially rank with the top releases of the year. Looking forward to hearing some more GX Project!