Artist: XIII Minutes
Single: Obsessed (Death Therapy Remix)
Release date: 6/24/2022
Reviewed by: John Wesley
Based out of Tulsa, OK, XIII Minutes has made quite a name for themselves in the underground scene. Since the release of their debut LP Obsessed back in April of 2019, the band has gone through many line-up changes but there has been a key element that has held it all together. Jamie Kucinski, drummer of the alt metal/metalcore outfit, is the visionary behind what you hear with XIII Minutes and Kardia Complex, another “supergroup” project that has released two singles thus far. Jamie is an integral piece in the grand puzzle of the next generation of Christian alternative music. With a high anticipation of whatever comes forth from Jamie’s creative mind, the fans, friends and followers of XIII Minutes have been given the date of the next release. On June 24th, 2022, you all will have the pleasure of listening to the very well-crafted and executed remix edition of the title track from the 2019 LP. Obsessed (Death Therapy Remix), as the title gives away, is a remix collaboration with Jason Wisdom of Death Therapy. One thing to know about Jamie is how intensely he values community and connection. This remix is a testimony of his philosophy with a truly unique re-imagining of one of the band’s staple tracks.
You might know Jason Wisdom from the classic melo-death metal act Becoming the Archetype. Since their disbandment, Jason has gone on to create the (bear with me for a genre-lasagna) alt death-techno rock outlet known as Death Therapy. With this musical approach in mind, Jamie and Jason successfully pull off a fresh arrangement to a pretty standard metalcore anthem. Personally, I like this remix better than the LP version. This is a perfect example of how to re-imagine a former work to breathe new life into it and make it stand-out again. Now let’s go over some of the details.
The very first thing to note about this remix is the rhythmic pacing. The original Obsessed sported a much faster “2 & 4” beat pattern while the remix lays back a bit with snare hits mostly on beat 3 only. This effect gives the song a much bigger, more commanding feel. For the most part, the guitar layerings are the same from the original but there are some added deep techno bass textures that manipulate the harmonic structure slightly especially in the main riff sections at the beginning and after the chorus. The drums throughout are reminiscent of 8-bit retro video-game sounds with a slappy snare, a thick bass drum, splashy cymbal hits and lots of those off-beat clicking noises providing a perfectly convincing industrial texture. All vocal stems are taken from the original takes which are from former vocalist Michael Rowley. The vocals are seamlessly dropped in the project file like a perfect fit.
Another “eye-brow raise” moment is a notable, little detail in the chorus. There’s a new passing chord embedded in right before the repeat that gives it a momentary psychedelic haze. It catches you off-guard but is completely appropriate and fitting making for a wonderful harmonic surprise. The half-time feel of the drums continues throughout, making it very distinct from the original. Other than these elements, this remix has the standard song format as the original does. There is a little break in the dynamic delivery in the bridge section giving an ominous rendition of the original breakdown. We are then tossed back to the chorus following the remaining song structure to the end. Making a great remix is an art in itself because you have to find creative ways to express a new perspective with past project files that cannot be changed. Obsessed (Death Therapy Remix) does a fantastic job of ushering this balance of respecting the original yet making it a completely new song.
Fans of Jamie’s work with XIII Minutes will be pleasantly surprised with this new edition of an older favorite. Though not complex in structure or in the details, Obsessed (Death Therapy Remix) proves to be a textbook example of oftentimes a very overlooked songwriting technique: less is more. The song is easily remembered with an anthemic chorus, simple guitar hooks and a helping of textural variance giving the listener something fresh to add to their workout playlists. Jamie is no stranger when it comes to presenting the unexpected, and he is also no stranger in delivering with excellence and precision. Look for the new XIII Minutes single Obsessed (Death Therapy Remix) this Friday, June 24th, 2022 everywhere you can find it!
Overall rating 8/10
For fans of Demon Hunter, Stone Sour and modern-era In Flames