Review Summary: A step in the right direction and a fun stoner/reggae rock song.
Many of you should be familiar with XTsamurai’s big hit, “Shine In My Light” which brought mass popularity to him. Whether it was as a result of alternative being the fad then or the single being released at the appropriate time in relation to the evolution of rock in Nigeria, “Shine In My Light” surely made XTsamurai more well-known. In the later part of 2014, XTsamurai released what sounded like reggae rock, the snippet to the song “A Mighty Army”. Now the full studio recorded version has been released, produced by both XTsamurai and Coldflames.
It’s a stellar song featuring reggae-style verses, with uplifting lyrics, clean singing, a melodic chorus and eerie guitar riffs. This song immediately gave me high hopes on whatever XTsamurai might be working on, be it an EP or album, I hope it’s an EP. It seemed XTsamurai joined the elements of reggae and rock, with keyboards and synths. This is good stuff, while behind it is typical XTsamurai lyrics, with clever lines like “And they run and they climb, and they fall upon the soil, yet they rise up so strong”. The song title basically sums up what the lyrics are all about, and XTsamurai is just proclaiming its inspirational attitude more than ever before.
What makes this song work so well is XTsamurai’s ability to blend sounds into each other in their own right. In addition to his stunning guitar work, the rhythm section supports him in the most groovy way you can imagine. XTsamurai provides some fluid baselines, and the drum beats behind him make the music even more head bobbing friendly. Songs like this I hope are but a taste of some of the delightful grooves that will dominate XTsamurai’s EP or album. However, while the rhythm adds a wonderful spice and flavour to “A Mighty Army”, the highlight is the creative guitar work which is delicate in a nonchalant way. While he maintains that catchy reggae-meets-rock appeal in his rhythm playing, his lead work is fascinating, as he employs a heavier-than-hell blues sound that is to die for.
While a large part of this song is enjoyable to listen to, there are some flaws in it. I won’t lie, even as good as the song sounds, it’s a little rough around the edges. For one, I cannot stand the lack of creativity from the drummer. The drumming is way too generic and should have been fused with a bit of creative drumming to spice up the song and make it for perfect hearing. Another notable flaw was XTsamurai’s vocals, it sounded constrained. I’ve listened to him live, so I know how awesome his vocals sound, but on this song, his vocal is not as good as it could be. He was being cautious, as if he was trying not to stretch it too loud or thin. Maybe it’s not as bad as I’ve painted it, but one thing I’m sure of, his vocals are way better than what it sounded like on this song. His voice basically mimics the guitar melody during the verses, and the guitar melody like I earlier stated is a fascinating lead.
So if you have never heard of XTsamurai, this is probably your gateway to discovering his music. It’s a great place to start, and showcases one of his best material. In addition, for those of you who are his fans, this is just another listen to a very cool song. It certainly isn’t perfect, though it’s a little tough to break down around the edges, kind of like a pre-mature onion, but when you do bite though, it’ll be as sweet as cake.
XTsamurai will be performing at the upcoming concert being hosted by Zainab Sule in Abuja this September. Be sure to attend. Support your local rock acts.