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Latest Episode #45

Alan Averill

● Why no new anthems
● The recording stresses
● The real story of 'Storm Before Calm'
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Famous X | ‘Deal With The Devil’

Now this is quite an unexpected release from Stefano Droetto, the man behind Highlord and, previous to that, Avatar. This record is filled with ten party pumping, dirty old rock’n’roll songs, but with some Heavy/Power Metal ingredients. On listening to this music, one is compelled to bang ones head and rock – the infectious grooves and catchy choruses in some of these tracks are certainly distinctive enough to become addictive, demanding multiple plays.

Heroes of the eighties are oft called to memory, and there are plenty of nods in the direction of Ratt, RacerX, Guns ‘N’ Roses, White Lion and the more rocky Priest material. Perhaps it is due to the musicians coming from a Power Metal background, but I can’t help but use Primal Fear and Sinner as the most useful reference points here. The use of double bass drums with palm-muted metal riffage, along with screaming vocals and rock’n’roll grooves always makes for a good combination. Whilst quite a departure from Droetto’s day job in Highlord, his signature guitar licks and solos are still very much intact, and fans of his previous work will similarly enjoy what he has done here.

Understandably, being a self-financed release, the production suffers in some instances. The main issue is that the vocals lack any real punch and some of the multi-layered choruses, whilst already sounding quite good, could really have sacked a serious punch with a more pristine production. The oft overpowering drums and guitars also seem to be at odds with the vocals in the mix, sometimes making it difficult to hear what is being said. Vocalist Andrea Marchisio is a talented individual, his best work being on the Highlord release “Breath of Eternity” where his vocal abilities truly shone, but one can’t help but feel that on this release he is being sold short by the vocal production values.

There is no reason why FamousX can’t stand up there with bands like Primal Fear and UDO, but the production will need some more work and consideration. The talent and the compositional skills are already there; this is certainly a band to watch, and a very enjoyable album. Also, the inclusion of the bonus track “Pegasus Fantasy” is a stroke of genius – apparently this tune is from a Japanese manga series called Saint Seiya, so hearing the rocked up version is very cool indeed, and I can imagine it will get the band plenty of fans in the land of the rising sun.

3.4 / 5 – Colin Callanan ::: 02/03/09

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