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Although they surely qualify as one of England's most successful thrash metal bands, Lancashire's hapless Xentrix ultimately came to epitomize all of Great Britain's relatively insignificant contributions to speed metal -- as compared to the genre's utterly dominating American bands. Formed in 1986 (as Sweet Vengeance, in the town of Preston) by vocalist/guitarist Chris Astley, guitarist Kristian Havard, bassist Paul MacKenzie, and drummer Dennis Gasser, Xentrix started life, not surprisingly, as a Metallica cover band, gradually drawing attention to themselves on the U.K. pub circuit and with their 1988 demo, Hunger For.... Fledgling Roadrunner Records soon took notice and signed the band, releasing their debut album, Shattered Existence, in 1989, and, later that year, the now infamous Ghost Buster EP. Led off by a thrash-intensive, too-clever-for-its-own-good rendition of -- you guessed it -- the Ray Parker Jr. movie theme, the EP hurled a fairly naïve Xentrix into a world of pain -- cease-and-desist litigation-style -- until the objectionable and unsanctioned record was recalled from many shops.
Still undeterred but perhaps a bit wiser, Xentrix got back to work with a series of increasingly repetitive, uninspired thrash albums, including 1990's For Whose Advantage?, 1991's Dilute to Taste, and 1992's Kin and The Order of Chaos EP. Inevitably, public indifference and diminishing returns soon led to internal strife, and when they were dropped by Roadrunner in 1993, the band finally crashed to a halt. Astley was singled out for sacrifice and a tentative rebirth was eventually attempted via 1996's Scourge (featuring new vocalist Simon Gordon and second guitarist Andy Rudd), but this only proved that Xentrix's already modest creative reserves were well and truly spent, signaling their unequivocal end. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
- Preston, Lancashire, England