Year : 2017
Style : Melodic Hard Rock
Country : Sweden
Audio : 320 kbps + all scans + Video
Size : 157 mb
In the end of 1991 Björn Stigsson who had been the guitar player and frontman in Leviticus.. for about ten years teamed up with ..Sonny Larsson lead singer of Motherlode Björn and Sonny have been friends since 1987, when Sonny did some of the vocals on Björn’s solo album. They now began to plan for another solo record from Björn but after a while they changed their plans and XT was formed. The name XT? It was Björn’s wife’s idea and it means “Christ”.Soon after that they got signed by Viva Records in Sweden and they also signed a distribution deal with Frontline Records in America. In October 1992 they realeased their first record with the same title as the band. XT didn’t have any permanent lineup at this time so on the first record they had three guest musicians. Michael Ulfsgärd.. from Jerusalem played the drums and on bass they had Håkan Anderson from the first Leviticus linup and P-O Larsson.The music style on the first cd was rock and hard rock with much keyboards. Björn said in HM issue53 “Our first album was a little thin in terms of production, but it still opened up a lot for us, especially in Japan.” XT also made a few live performance this year. For example they played on two festivals in Holland which the Dutch TV filmed. XT now decided to concentrate on doing good records instead of being an intensive touring band. And in the summer 1993 the band went into Björn’s own studio and started to record their next album. And in October 1993 they released their second cd Taxfree. This time they came up with a much heavier album with better production and less keyboards and more guitars. With Taxfree they reached a big selling success with over 10 000 albums sold only in Japan. In Sweden the biggest Newspaper Aftonbladet voted the song The Silent Cry as the most powerful song in 1993.On Taxfree XT sounded more as a band but they still haven’t any solid lineup. On this album Mick Nordström of Modest Attraction hit the Drums on keyboard they had Niklas Edberger and P-O Larsson played the bass on all off the tracks this time. After the succsess with Taxfree XT went in to the BTS studio again and started to record their third album.In march 1995 they finally released Extended Empire which took the band in to a new heavier direction. Björn’s guitar playing now sounded heavier than ever and Sonny used more variation in his song style. XT got many great reviews for Extended Empire in different music magazines all over the world. For the first time XT now had more or less permanent members with Björn on guitar, Sonny on vocals, Kjell Andersson (original Leviticus member) on drums, Niklas Edberger on keyboards and Johan Stark on Bass. And on the live shows they also had a second guitar player Andreas Lagerin.With this lineup they now bagan to play more live shows for example they played on Hard Rock cafe in Stockholm. They also played on a christian festival in Stockholm in the summer 1995 together with Bride and Veni Domine.They became better known in Japan than either Europe or the United States. Prior to forming XT, Sonny Larson had been involved in a few other Swedish metal bands as lead vocalist. While in Motherlode (1983–1987) he worked with Mark Stanway, who was later in the British melodic rock band Magnum. Motherlode released one album,Sanctuary, in 1986. Following Motherlode, he joined Charizma and stayed with them until 1988.
Sadly, the Angelic Warlord DeLorean time machine suffered irreparable damage in a recent attempt to go back to the early nineties and circumvent the grunge movement. But let’s imagine for a moment it’s still working, and that we can use it to send the fall of 2017 Talking Music fourth full length album from XT, Saved By The Blood, 40 years into the past. There’s no doubt it would be a sensation, what with a seventies influenced sound heavily rooted in AOR tinged melodic hard rock (hooks aplenty of a commercial form) and classic rock (laced with abounding blues elements and the organ to match).XT remains a project of veteran Swedish musician’s guitarist Björn Stigsson and vocalist Sonny Larsson. Stigsson, of course, is best known for his work in Leviticus, the at times metal and others melodic hard rocking act with four studio albums to its credit, including I Shall Conquer (1983), The Strongest Power (1985), Setting Fire To The Earth (1987) and Knights Of Heaven (1989). Larsson got his start in Motherlode, having fronted the melodic metal and hard rock of its 1986 debut The Sanctuary, but did not work with Stigsson until he contributed vocals to six tracks off his 1987 solo album Together With Friends (a wonderful work that desperately needs to be re-mastered and re-issued).Such partnership led to the formation of XT and its 1992 Viva Records self-titled debut, an AOR infused work that featured strong performances from the two but also highlighted a bit too much keyboard heavy polish for my taste. Second and third albums, Taxfree and Extended Empire, both also on Viva and released in 1993 and 1998 respectively, better represents the group’s potential, with former trending commercial hard rock territory and latter upping heaviness with a straight on metal-based sound. Despite not having worked together since the mid-nineties, Stigsson and Larsson regrouped alongside Jerusalem member’s bassist Peter Carlsohn and keyboardist Dan Tibell in addition to Modest Attraction drummer Mick Nordström to record perhaps its finest album to date in Saved By The Blood.I always identified with Larsson as one of the highest high-pitched vocalists I have heard, a particular I say in the kindest sense, but the passing of over twenty years robbed him of some of his high-end capabilities. Take this, of course, as natural observation in that now I might describe his style instead as classic tenor intertwined with some becoming middle register heart and grit. The point being he maintains a high level of aptitude nonetheless in singing within the framework of his capabilities and does not strain or overdue it in the process.That would be the best way to describe his performance on opening cut “Watchman”, which does a good job embodying the newfound XT seventies based sensibilities. The song - not unlike much of the Saved By The Blood material - revels in mid-paced with an easy going and laid back form yielding an even mix of definitive guitars and Hammond B3. All the while Larsson knows when to smooth things out or lend an edge of grit in playing to the melody at hand.“The One” starts to a brief keyboard solo prior to moving its length at the more forthright tempo, revealing the rawer sound with heavier guitars (for the agile verses) and continued emphasis on organ (lacing the refrain with its catchy ‘whoah, oh, oh, oh’ harmony vocals). A light pop essence comes to the forefront in the process but not to the point of distraction. Of equal note is how the manner in which timekeeper Nordström helps reinforce the low end.Albums single of which the group recorded a video, “I Will Follow You” returns things to mid-tempo territory in representing by far the heaviest of the eight Saved By The Blood tracks. Keyboards continue to make their presence felt, albeit not to a fault, along with light tinges of acoustic guitar, which helps make the refrain that much more engaging. Lending to the heavier rocking setting at hand is Stigsson’s extended stretch of bluesy lead guitar.Lone song to come into question is ballad “All Of Your Love”, and that is not due to a lack in quality (it is quite solid actually), but rather on an album with a heavy mid-tempo slant a faster and more upbeat track might have worked better. Musically, it moves its length in a relaxed manner to big doses of piano, organ and backing vocals as Larsson again puts in a fine showing with his smooth, tenor vocal abilities.Second upbeat cut “What’s Going On” features a guitar rhythm similar to that of classic Leviticus song “Born Again” (off Knights Of Heaven). Outside of that, it is its own song, as found in more pronounced guitars - Saved By The Blood sidesteps the overly slick feel to the Knights Of Heaven production - and an almost underlining dance beat groove courtesy of bassist Peter Carlsohn. I wish there were a few more high-energy pieces along this line here.“The Last Supper” returns things to mid-tempo territory but without backing from quality. The song gets underway to atmospheric keyboards, which soon join with wieldy (and quite catchy) guitars that maneuver in and out of the mix. Verses that follow revisit the atmospheric leanings in slowing to a near crawl, while refrain contrasts in picking up impetus with its impassioned ‘this is the last night we are together. I’m leaving the earth and going to my Father’ semblance. Musically and lyrically, “The Last Supper” serves to introduce the two-part magnum opus that is closing tracks “The Crucifixion” and “The Resurrection”.“The Crucifixion” in my opinion represents albums best number with its twelve-minute portrayal of the crucifixion of Christ. I like to think of it as a more extended version of the Bloodgood track “Crucify” (off Detonation from 1987), covering the subject in the same affecting manner but with a bit more detail than the three-minute Bloodgood rendering. Whereas Bloodgood opted to go a near speed metal route, XT takes its leisurely mid-paced time while not forsaking key areas of heaviness and melody, which allows the song to hold up despite its length (at least that is my experience, noting I am a big progressive aficionado).“The Crucifixion” breaks down between two parts, with the first covering Christ’s betrayal, arrest and trial while interspersing the breathtaking chorus throughout.Second half provides a dramatic reenactment of the crucifixion, including the crowd repeatedly shouting ‘crucify’, the nails being hammered, dialogue with the believing thief and Christ’s final words on the cross (provided by Larsson): ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do’. It adds up to as perfect a progressive masterpiece as you will find, and for me song of the year.What Bloodgood’s “Messiah” is to “Crucify”, XT’s “The Resurrection” is to “The Crucifixion”. The song effectively sums things up in providing a fitting closure to the two-song ‘suite’, lightening things musically with guitars in a reduced role and keyboards in a forward position in allowing a bountiful melody to carry both verses and refrain. An elevated if not becoming victorious ambience is the feel in light of the subject at hand.I find production immaculate with perfectly placed keyboards - I cannot say enough good things about the work of Tibell - and more than adequate guitars to approach hard rock territory. Nothing to complain of in that all aspects of the recording process are present in needed amounts. Likewise, packaging gets the job done with the darker feel to the cover art in line with the musical leanings at hand and booklet containing easy to read lyrics, band photos, etc.Repeat listen reveals Stigsson, Larsson and company to have put tremendous effort into the Saved By The Blood material, with such hard work paying off from how each song manifests that one quality - notable melody, catchy riff, engaging harmony, etc - that allows it to stand on its own. Lone complaint is that the album strains a bit too much towards the mid-tempo- so perhaps replacing ballad “All Of Your Love” with an upbeat rocker would have revealed the better balanced track listing overall. Outside of that, Stigsson was smart in surrounding himself with such a group of talented, veteran musicians, with the results speaking for themselves. If a fan of XT or any of the projects to feature Stigsson or Larsson, then make Saved By The Blood a priority purchase. Finally, as for the time travelling DeLorean thing, do not make the same mistake I did and neglect to purchase the extended warrantee…
Sonny Larsson (Motherlode) - Vocals
(Björn Stigsson) (Leviticus) - Guitars/Keyboards/Moog Taurus
Peter Carlsohn (Jerusalem) - Bass/Moog Taurus Mick Nordström (Modest Attraction) - Drums
Danne Tibell (Jerusalem) - Hammond/Keyboards
Petra Wirsén - Backing Vocals
Desirée Tibell - Backing Vocals
Samuel Tibell - Backing Vocals
01. Watchman 06:00
02. The One 03:40
03. I Will Follow You 04:44
04. All Of Your Love 04:04
05. What's Going On 04:17
06. The Last Supper 05:15
07. The Crucifixion 12:41
08. The Resurrection 04:37
+ Video "I Will Follow You" (Official Video)
Please my link you can spread further and don´t upload to other hostings!!!
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