Under the Ruins Xalt - Under the Ruins (Pure Metal) 1990

1. "Through the Night" (3:47)
2. "Forgiven" (2:48)
3. "Under the Ruins" (4:03)
4. "Waste Your Life Away" (3:31)
5. "Lost Without You" (4:06)
6. "Piercing the Darkness " (4:50)
7. "The Fortress" (2:48)
8. "Wounded Heart" (4:47)
9. "The Kingdom Within" [instrumental] (2:53)
10. "Lift Him Up" (3:33)
11. "Take A Look" (2:25)

"Under the Ruins" was Xalt's sophmore release and their first to be released on a nationally distributed record label. "Under the Ruins" is good, no frills, 1980's style heavy metal platter. Comparisons are often made to bands like Judas Priest and Accept, although I honestly don't hear that in this band. I am more inclined to compare them to a band like Riot. For the most part the material here is pretty rockin' save for the power balled "Lost Without You." Unfortunately for Xalt, their best two albums, this one and "Dark War" were very poorly and thinly recorded. Had this one been given a beefier, heavier production it probably would have ruled. As it is, it isn't bad, but hasn't really stood the test of time very well and sounds very dated. Much of this is the fault of the production, over the actual songwriting or musicianship. Actually, the guitar work is very good. James Erdman was a hot lead player who was unfortunately trapped in a band that wasn't give a proper recording budget. Lyrically, Xalt are straight forward, evangelistic, Christian. I have read other reviews that critisize the band lyrically. I can see how some might read the band as being a bit preachy, but to me it just seems the band was expressing their love for their Lord and had an honest desire to share their faith with others. The lyrics were actually pretty typical of the 80's Christian metal scene. The lyrics to "Wounded Heart" for example, "Go and tell the starving millions, that his love is still alive, or how he came back and took up the form of a man, then rose again when crucified...Jesus is still the answer, and he's the only way to start." Similarly "Lift Him Up" is a straight up praise song; "Lift Him Up, give all praise to the Father, Lift Him Up, He is the King of Kings...He's the reason that we sing." I must also make mention that I have always thought that this album had a cool cover.

"Under the Ruins" as long been out of print and as of 2006 had not been reissued. I've seen this CD sell on Ebay for around $40 - $50. One other note about this album is that song eleven is a CD-only bonus track that is not listed on the track lising.

History Xalt - History (Pure Metal) 1991

1. "Standing" (4:02)
2. "Heart of Stone" (4:32)
3. "Babel Again" (3:45)
4. "Walk Away" (3:07)
5. "Unconditional Love" (5:02)
6. "History" (2:58)
7. "Build My World" (4:30)
8. "The Tree" (4:30)
9. "Reflection" (4:14)
10. "Lord, Lord" (1:25)

Xalt started life as a fairly proficient, simplistic, traditional heavy metal band. Their first two albums "Dark War" (1988) and "Under the Ruins" (1990) may not have been groundbreaking or innovative, but they were enjoyable, fairly heavy and featured some good guitar work. "History" was Xalt's stab at commercial, pop metal. Personally, I prefer their earlier work as this CD is just sort of generic sounding to me and isn't something I find myself returning to very often. Pop metal really needs big hooks and charismatic vocals. While they have some decent hooks, the vocals don't really stand out. One very positive aspect to this album is that the lyrics are very uplifting. Another postive part of this CD is that guitarist James Erdman cranks out some choice leads. Standout cuts are "Standing" and the title track.

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