XORIGIN – State Of The Art (2011)

Xorigin is a new exciting band based around two Scandinavian musicians with a history dating back to 1999.

Vocalist / Keyboardist Johannes Stole (ex Slaves To Fashion) and guitarist Daniel Palmqvist (ex The Murder Of My Sweet) first met when students at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles where they formed the band Orange Crush.

The project disbanded and 2 of the members Johannes Stole and Daniel Palmqvist continued the music careers in Sweden and Norway, their home countries.

Now they have teamed up again, together with skillful drummer / producer Daniel Flores (XsavioR, Frozen Rain, Deacon Street Project), and it seems that they’ve timed the release of their debut “State Of The Art” for the right moment.

Stylistically, this is album is pure Melodic Rock / AOR, with terrific vocals, big hooks, lots of keyboards and melodic guitars.

Opener “Can’t Keep Running” is an infectious track, very eighties in outlook and sound with its synth bass and big chorus hook which sees well layered vocal melodies. A highlight.

“Crying For You” shows off the great vocal range of Johannes. It is also the introduction of the love/relationship theme that pervades the album.

The mid-tempo power ballad “In The Blink Of An Eye” has a hit potential, sounding like the perfect companion to the likes of Winger’s ‘Miles Away’ or Damn Yankees ‘High Enough’. Good stuff just 20 years too late but hey, nothing wrong with nostalgia when it’s well crafted like this.

“Too Late” is a catchy summer’s day type of tune with an outstanding keyboard line and the chorus grabs a hold of you.

“Gina” (not a Michael Bolton cover) is another winner. Great, big sound and a catchy vibe. It brings back flashes of an inspiration leaning towards the mighty ’80s Winger. This wonderful track possesses a sweet middle section hitting you when you least expect it.

“This Is It” is an ode to living and taking care of one’s business in life. With its catchy chorus, great lyrics and sound, this cracking tune is one of my favorites on the album, with just a hint of a Survivor thing going down.

The semi-midtempo “The One For Me” has a bright happy vibe. The influences shine through yet again with a Whitesnake-lite style circa 89-90, but still retains an original Xorigin sound throughout and has an infectious singalong chorus.

The racy “Said And Done” is a classy AOR track with swirling keys, a potent guitar riff and a marvelous, harmonic chorus.

“Matters To The Heart” is very pleasant modern euro-AOR, it rolls along steadily and competently and has a nice guitar outro.

“What Love Is All About” has plenty of charm with a sweet vocal delivery and as with all the previous tracks has it’s memorable moments in one section or another. A fantastic AOR-rocker with a huge chorus in the same style as Radioactive, great stuff.

“Mend My Heart” as well as being the final track, is also as close to a ballad as we are going to get and a perfect way to end this fine debut album.

“State Of The Art” is a brilliant Melodic Rock / AOR album, with terrific melodies, hook laden songs and strong choruses. The songs have great variation and the arrangements lifts up this album to a higher level.

Performances are great, with special commendation going to the vocals, the soaring harmonies. These are clearly guys who know what they are doing.

Everything on “State Of The Art” is made bright by lively but never oppressive or overwhelming unnecessary guitar flourishes or keyboard additions. All is placed and arranged utterly brilliant.

Produced by Daniel Flores with a crisp and stunning sound, the only little flaw I can find here is the mix on a couple of tracks, not perfect as the rest.

XorigiN is a band full of talent, playing classy AOR / Melodic Rock in a grand style, and their debut “State Of The Art” sits definitely on my Top 5 this year, together with Moratti, Airrace, Work Of Art and Toby Hitchcock.

A Must Have. Highly Recommended.

01 – Can’t Keep Running

02 – Crying For You

03 – In The Blink Of An Eye

04 – Too Late

05 – Gina

06 – This Is It

07 – The One For Me

08 – Said And Done

09 – Matters Of The Heart

10 – What Love Is All About

11 – Mend My Heart

Johannes Stole – Vocals, Keyboards

Daniel Palmqvist – Guitar, Keyboards

Daniel Flores – Drums

Produced by Daniel Flores



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