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"Unleashed"
 

With bands such as Guano Apes, HIM, Donots or recently Oomph!, G.U.N. Records have impressively proven that they are talent scouts for the masses. But since the committed label does not only want to rest on their laurels but also take up new challenges, they provided a platform for two newcomer acts - voted beforehand at MTV - who performed along with the well-known crowd pullers during their anniversary festival on the Cologne based Ring. Such was the impression left by EXILIA and their energetic stage show that the Italians were signed on the spot.

Without any doubt, vocalist Masha is in the spotlight of the foursome thanks to her powerful voice and her vocal diversity ranging from extremely fine to prickly. Since 1998, she has been working with guitarist Elioalien whose deep riffs are influenced by Nu Metal. Three years later, bass player Random and drummer Ge completed the current line-up - a rhythm section which lays extremely varied foundations thanks to complex beats and powerful grooves.

The development from the 2000 Indie debut "Rightside Up" to last year's EP "Underdog" was already remarkable and is now topped again by their first real longplayer "Unleashed" (out on 24th May 2004). In fact, the Milanese manage to get to the heart of their varied influences and to wrap them up in absolutely coherent songs covering a broad range. You could feel enthusiastic about club hits such as the first single "Stop Playing God" and "Starseed" with their catchy hooklines, "The World Is Falling Down" and "Heaven's Gate" with their massive dynamism, the remarkable ballad "Mr. Man" which is performed without any pathos, and "Undergod" and its irresistible power.

Yes, it's true that people compare EXILIA to Guano Apes, but this does not do justice to neither of the bands. Beyond all question, benchmarks have been set by both female vocalists, the tone of their voices, however, differs significantly since Masha's voice clearly sounds smokier and harder. And even though both bands are more or less part of the Crossover Rock movement EXILIA quote different influences (Led Zeppelin, Korn, Slipknot amongst others) which have left their mark on their unmistakable style making them sound straighter and heavier.

Even the lyrics of the Italians come straight to the point. Masha is a first-person narrator telling us about her youth, that her parents didn't understand her since she didn't behave as they wanted her to, and that she felt refused by the Milanese scene which is dominated by Dancefloor music. A feeling that is now unknown thanks to her adrenaline-driven band. Last year, EXILIA went down very well with the audience during their tour as support of In Extremo, and even as support of Guano Apes, H-Blockx, Clawfinger, HIM and Therapy? they won a lot of new fans over to their side. And this number is sure to increase, because from 22nd April on, Masha and her three boys are going to support chartbreakers Oomph! - a package which you should not miss!