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Xi (album)

The meaning of «xi (album)»

XI is the eleventh studio album by American heavy metal band Metal Church. It was released on March 25, 2016,[1] and is the band's first album in 23 years (since Hanging in the Balance) to feature vocalist Mike Howe. XI was considered a comeback for both Metal Church and Howe since the latter's hiatus from the music industry following the band's first breakup in 1996; the album received generally positive reviews, and was their first studio album since 1989's Blessing in Disguise to enter the Billboard 200 chart, where it peaked at number 57,[2] the band's highest chart position in their career. This is also Metal Church's final album with drummer Jeff Plate, who left the band almost exactly a year after its release.

In 2014, a year after the release of the band's tenth album, Generation Nothing, longtime vocalist Ronny Munroe announced he was quitting the band. In April of the next year, it was announced that former vocalist Mike Howe had rejoined the band. This lineup subsequently recorded and released a new version of the song "Badlands" (from the band's 1989 debut album with Howe, Blessing in Disguise).[3]

Mike Howe spoke about his absence from the music scene for two decades before his return to the band in 2015. He said: "I dropped off the radar because the record business really disappointed me. Things were changing, grunge was coming up and we were getting ignored. We were not businessmen, we were musicians, and like a lot of [other] bands, we just wanted to write songs and play metal." [4]

Over the course of 2015, the band announced its intention of releasing another album featuring Howe. He added - "the biggest thing for us was being able to write, record and present an album of material that represented us and who we are today from beginning to end without any external pressures, timelines or anything like that, and that's exactly what we did. We are very happy about this and it's allowed us to relax, be big kids again and enjoy the process".[4]

In January, 2016, Metal Church released a video for a new song, "No Tomorrow" as the album's first single, with the band announcing a title and track listing for the album at the same time.[5] Another video, for the song "Killing Your Time" was released in February.[6] On March 18, one week prior to the album's release, the band released a lyric video for "Reset."[7]

XI received an average score of 70/100 on Metacritic, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[8] Metal Underground rated the album four stars out of five and called it "a must buy for long time and new fans of the band and should be placed on the mantle in the same light as Howe, Phase One."[15] AllMusic writer James Christopher Monger gave XI three-and-a-half out of five stars, and states that it "feels a bit more lived-in and immediate than 2013's so-so Generation Nothing." Monger finished his review, saying that "Metal Church seem to have finally found the sweet spot between the thrash-kissed days of yore and the more traditional yet no less meaty metal stylings of their 21st century incarnation."[9] Angry Metal Guy commented on Mike Howe's remarkably unchanged bellowing snarl as out in front of hooky, meaty riffs that walk a fine line between traditional metal and hard rock that it feels like old times all over again.[16] Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles concurred that the return of Mike Howe is the show-stealer, the clarity and bite of his voice makes for a raucous return.[17]

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