Track Listing
What's On Your Mind (3)
Letter To God
Touch The Sky (2)
Rainy Days
All I'm Asking (1)
Burn It Up
Inside Out (2003)
What Keeps Me Loving You (2003)
Tell Me

(*) Best Tracks

Discography & (Rank)
XYZ (1)
Hungry (3)
Take What You Can...Live (4)
Letter To God (2)

Buy it if you liked:
Letter To God
MTM Music
Produced By: Terry Ilous & JK Northrup
Running Time: 51.46 Release Date: April 22
Released: EU Genre: Hard Rock
WebLink: Terry Ilous LabelLink: MTM

XYZ are back after a several year hiatus. The good news is that the band are likely to continue on working, now featuring vocalist Terry Ilous, guitarist JK Northrup, bassist Sean McNabb and drummer Paul Monroe.
Letter To God features songs from a couple of different sources. Some were written especially for the album and a couple are previously unused XYZ tunes. In fact, 4 tracks come from original demo versions featured on the Take What You Can...Live album. All naturally, were freshly recorded for this album.
The line up has changed from the original, but Pat and Marc from the original line-up are featured in the song writing credits for several tracks. Terry and Jeff wrote the remaining tracks together.
Essentially this is a great album - but there could be some fans of the debut that find it has moved a little too far away from the band's original sound.
Letter To God is a very well recorded and produced album. The mix is crisp, sharp and loud. The performance is unquestionable also.
This is a guitarists album. Jeff Northrup's guitar is all over this album, with big chunky riffs and solos the driving force behind the music.
Then of course, there is Terry's unmistakable vocals. Sounding a fresh and powerful as ever, Terry's style in 2003 is more Robert Plant than the Don Dokken-esque sound of the classic debut album.
In fact, that's the most suitable reference for the whole album. The style is a generally a slower paced, heavy, Led Zeppelin retro-hard rock vibe, rather than the LA-metal style the debut was. That fact alone might turn some off, but the fact remains this is musically, a very strong album.
The one aspect that might be worth mentioning would be the need for some stronger choruses - or at least, some more instant choruses. But these songs don't lend themselves to that sort of delivery and on repeated listens the songs become more melodic and better understood. And therefore, more memorable.
Just take the two major ballads of the album Deny and the magic All I'm Asking. Pure melodic hard rock brilliance.
Elsewhere, the heavy rock vibe of Touch The Sky, Letter To God, Rainy Day and Tango carry plenty of melodies and in your face guitar riffs to please most fans of the band.
The inclusion of new versions of 2 classic cuts from the debut is interesting. Inside Out keeps the slower, heavier vibe of the new tracks, making it quite a change from the original. What Keeps Me Loving You is more stripped back and soulful, while remaining very updated.

The Bottom Line
And open mind is the best thing to take into listening to this album. There are no real weak tracks, but as said earlier, the style might not match everyone's taste's and expectations. The medium pace of the album and Jeff's more contemporary, darker, heavier guitar sound are two aspects that have helped bring XYZ into the new decade, but some may not welcome that.
I think most will find that this album rocks big time, although the issue of some more instantly catchy songs will remain for some.

Line Up
Terry Illous: Vocals
Jeff Northrup: Guitar
Paul Monroe: Drums
Sean McNabb: Bass

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