As found in the Idaho Statesman
Fri, August 23 2002
By Michael Deeds
XEX takes its heavy metal seriously - maybe a little too seriously. XEX isn't even a word, "it's a symbol that is as unique as our music," the Boise trio claims. Whatever the case, "Anything Goes" is an apt title for what amounts to an ambitious alternative-metal therapy session. The CD's apocalyptic, spoken-word intro conjures up laughable images of Motley Crue's "Shout at the Devil." But afterward, XEX blends precise, minimalist bass lines and drumming with tortured, armored-saint vocals ("You will bow down before me!) and massively processed, detuned guitar chords, XEX tells a melodramatic lyrical tale (complete with spooky echoes), executes quirky ax gear-shifts (from acoustic to skull-compressing) and sneaks in shreddin' solos. Even when XEX is laughing at itself - check out "Don't Tell William," a fist-waving adaptation of William Tell's famed overture - the group delivers with utter density. "Anything Goes" is dark, deliberate and anvil-heavy, leaving you fatigued, as if you've taken sledgehammer shots to both shoulders. Feel XEX's pain.
As found in the Boise Weekly
Volume 10, Issue 37
March 20, 2002
BEATERS AND SHADES
By Amy Garrett
Smoke and the stench of cheap beer permeates the air. The stage is lined with the mixture of young and old that only true heavy metal can attract. The hair flies, synchronized head banging and fist thrusting starts, and the crowd emits an occasional guttural growl of appreciation. On stage, the band thrashes about wearing their trademark "wife-beater" shirts and Poncherelli shades. They add flair to the music, but they are certainly not a glam band. They are bringing back the ten-minute metal ballad and the nearly extinct, blistering guitar solo.
When you watch a XEX show it's hard not to have a good time, even if metal isn't your thing. This is because they have used some "gimmicks" as bassist Alfred De Varona put it, some "novelties." The put on a high energy show and the have a "look" because, "nobody else has a 'look'" drummer, Pete Wadams, explains. They really just don't care. They aren't afraid to go all the way. They dress like Hessians with flowing hair, wearing "beaters and shades" - to quote the band's own motto. Several times throughout a XEX show the band will chant, it deep bellow, "Beaters and Shades." It may almost seem like a joke, their revival of heavy metal. That's because they don't get caught up taking themselves too seriously.
They are quite light-hearted, yet they sing songs with the decadent lyrics typical of heavy metal, such as "I pour myself a glass of my pain" from the song titled, "Glass of Pain." They mention children and blood in the same sentence. But that's just the beginning. The scope of their music is actually quite impressive. They have taken several classical songs and transcribed them into the language of death and destruction. Rossini's William Tell Overture becomes "Don't Tell William," probably because he'd roll over in his grave. They do creative things with covers such as "Eye of the Tiger" or the Stones' "Paint It Black" which become sinister and much, much longer. The show stopper is their "T.V. Theme Song Medley" which incorporates the themes from Three's Company, Simon and Simon, Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum P.I.
The band consists of three guys that have been playing together, in some form, since 1987. De Varona met guitarist Bryan Maddox in junior high. After many bands, and many years XEX came along. They were just messing around, getting drunk in the basement, and as De Varona states, "we found ourselves playing shows, even though it wasn't our intention." Now, they are releasing their first album Anything Goes, which is a motto as apt as "Beaters and Shades." Although the album draws heavily from traditional metal influences, the music is complex and varied. They show their versatility with some more acoustic, melodic songs scattered through out.