Now there is a time where someone special comes along in the world of music. When we begin to think in a musical aspects which in fact is also in personality fact, which I find can vary through the vast aspects of creating
such music. Metalcore band, (Putting it mildly!) XIII Minutes based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have been in our faces for goodness how long ….. 3 years in fact!! Which the bands mastermind and visionary Jamie Kucinski (Drums) has been the consistent vocal mouthpiece for the band as over their time have released D45’s* (Digital E.P) over that time and presented us with some reversions of those songs and some new qualities.
This highly talented group released their debut full length album “Obsessed” the other day through the ever transparent Rottweiler Records, which I find is a label that has the finger on the pulse with forward moving expertise renovation that it is uncommon in the format that creative origins have come about.
With the beginning track “Sibling Rivalry” is a little different to the original release but have come to find that it sets the pace for the respected record that would please many. Still maintaining that aggressive, melodic edge that blends with the vocal capabilities of Michael Rowley, the band muster the direct approach that seems to don radio play everywhere it sets it will.
“Victim-less” kicks out to a much intense and hysterical song that is I find is probably the fastest and more intense track on the whole album, which I favour very much. The tightness and respect of each band members playing skills are set apart but, yet share a unity that only fans of the band can hear in a much distinctive manner. Close shaving to metalcore giants Earth Crisis 10 years ago, their striving for a melodic but, yet aggressive approach is just is the tip of this iceberg that even the Titanic would have sunk regardless of any move. Simply a personal favourite of the whole album.
The band paint a “Self Portrait” of themselves with this song as it was one of the first to hit the scene, with a more straight ahead basic beat and stop start manner that can be described as a start from the top and work away to the bottom riff that works no matter what the cost. Solid throughout. “Machaira” comes into the fold with a much more slower approach that gives a heavier groove element, the chorus of clean vocals prides into itself with harmonious heart felt strings that I find is the strength that XIII Minutes display through the overall presentation.
“Blue Flame” moves into the direction of a more clean and melodic range that many pop metalcore bands lean towards too, but it really keeps with the overall picture that the band is trying to create. Level headed is what comes across with these guys and still having that aggressiveness element shown.
But the constant theme with the entirety of the album is the “Obsessed” keeping with the groove and melodic space and severity that can only be expected since the band has made this entrance. Again leaning towards the pop metalcore outlet with some constant breakdowns or two as in which holds its own rights, but never comparing them to any normal bland and uncreative band.
We honestly don’t want anyone or the band for that matter to be “Fragile” about this but, crunching grooves with a Korn element as the song begins which I remember well in the late 90’s, creates the guitar undertones that gives it the smooth but, yet impacted direction that strays away from it’s developed strength to have a healthy on par balance of underground and equally to the pop metalcore sounds which I find is great as sitting on the fence of the sound that has a leaning to the more mainstream audience.
The first single to ever make any head way for this Tusla, Oklahoma band XIII Minutes was the classic “This Life” which in my opinion with every time hearing it gives me the sense with the overall spectrum of the band, mixing both the aggressiveness of the delivery and soulfulness it creates, thus maintains the constant life giving breath that it utmost brings. It’s like cauldron of sounds, genres and escapades that really builds into the bands repertoire. Upbeat but, yet heart driven expectancies that have a real meaning beyond any imagination.
“Who Told You “ has a funky beginning with sincere clean vocals that are smooth on approach and much more of the pop driven hard music which completely differs to their past offerings on the album. With the hits of take this and that vocally and musically does take the band to a whole new level, it still does carry the same attitude that may surprise some of you.
“Water Vice” comes next which is a regular with us, but it keeps coming at us that experiences the change and repercussions that we weren’t expecting at first but, have come to admire. Keeping with the attitude and melodic trance that can be noted, also a hint of ’80s riffs can be heard as they blend in the goodness as they display with a great breakdown that adds character to the track which enhances the experience.
When he hit “Out Of Time” it goes down a path that I don’t usually go down as with a light piano ballad with clean and
commercialised vocals, which I still dig by the way, as it intertwines with females vocals that are equal the song. Entertaining to say the least, but waiting for Linkin Park to break out which happens in the later part of the track.
“When You Suffered” directs down the same road of toning down the aspects that we have heard from “Out Of Time” but just an interlude track to send us into “Reckless Love” a powerful and powerful worship song that we all know and widely spread around Pentecostal churches. For people like me it hits the inner man and wants me to praise our “Living God”.
This album is an amazing product for those who enjoy hard music and the spiritual direction behind it.
Christian Sullivan — 9/10
The Metal Onslaught Magazine