XCEL - DELIVER THIS DREAM (Arkeyn Steel Records)
(Review by Stefan)
Back in 1985, Texas based Xcel arose from the ashes of a band called Wizzard. The line-up those days contained Barry Duncan and Kevin Cox as guitar players, Kevin Luke on vocals, Dag Gabourel behind drums and Peter Voight took care of the bass lines. Their mission was to serve Heavy Metal music to those into the likes of Queensryche and Iron Maiden mainly… ‘Out To Maim’ and ‘Teaser’ were Xcel’s first recordings ever. Subsequently, live shows were booked with a good response from the present maniacs which were actually awaiting for some original stuff, a demo release would be a good start. Xcel answered the call very driven and determined, they even wanna go further than that and entered the recording studio for a full length album instead.
So Xcel never brought out a demo, in one week their debut album entitled “Deliver This Dream” was recorded and released through TRI Records as vinyl and cassette tape. A very bold move from the band, their mission to take the world of Metal by complete surprise became reality. The product had been self-financed in hope to catch a bigger label afterwards but the road was very bumpy. Keep in mind that TRI Records actually wasn’t a real label, they were just a couple of guys with a decent bit of recording equipment/recording facility. Xcel indicated their name (TRI) as label to their album after they got full permission from the recording guys.
According to Xcel, the sound quality wasn’t good enough so they hoped to re-done the whole recording duties one day. One guy named George Coyne came on with the brilliant idea to remix/remaster the entire original album featuring 8 tracks at Parrot Tracks Studios in Austin Texas. Along with a much better sound, “Deliver This Dream’ saw daylight again and the band was immediately on the move doing promotion while they played a lot of live gigs. But still, they were looking for some more to expand their fanbase, even on the International market. They’ve worked with a couple of companies, unfortunately without good results. LD Promotions re-recorded both songs ‘Teaser’ and ‘Last Ride Of Ichabod Crane’, Accent Records released the single afterwards, etcetera, etcetera. Nothing turned out as the guys hoped on, Xcel tried all the best they could but in the end, all hope was gone and dark clouds drifted by which meant that the curtain finally fell over their young career.
A story like this seems to me a well known situation, I’m aware of the fact that so many awesome 80s US Metal acts didn’t receive what they deserved, to sign a decent record deal. Damn pity but also that was part of the so called underground 80s Metal scene. As years passed by, the Xcel players always kept in touch like true brothers – always believing in the real spirit of US Heavy Metal. After they called it quits back in 1987, it feels really good to let you know that they took a very wise decision in 2011… they re-started the rehearsals by playing their good old classics mainly but plans are already made to strike back with new compositions as well so let’s bring out a new album soon guys!
One of the best labels in delivering US Metal highlights named Arkeyn Steel Records just released Xcel’s debut album “Deliver This Dream” (1986) plus the very rare 7” EP (1987). I can hardly explain how fantastic good this one really is. Nothing but a reborn classic to me, superb output all the way out for all those into stellar US Power/Heavy Metal akin to the sound of early Queensryche and Heir Apparent. Unique high-pitched vocals and a whole lotta package of high level melodic passages dancing on the edge of darkness… “Deliver This Dream” takes my breath away!!
Without beating around the bush, an album that should be ordered by everyone who likes its music in a Classic US Metal way! Purchase quickly and let your soul be surrounded by so much awesomeness such as the mighty opener/titletrack ‘Deliver This Dream’ and ‘Last Ride Of Ichabod Crane’. All the songs in between you have to check out by yourself… one thing is for sure, you’ll be surprised/astonished by Xcel’s mighty forces of US Metal delivery. Also this CD gets a fair place in my personal Top 20 album list of 2013. Attacker’s new album “Giants Of Canaan” stays my ‘Numero Uno’ for this year shortly followed by Xcel “Deliver This Dream” among other. 2013 seems to be a good year for us, US Metal maniacs!
My Points: 95 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & classic ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 89: Decent but better to take a preview first
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard