XYZ – Forbidden Demos

After our horrible review on the last XYZ release, “Letter To God”, I was surprised to see “Forbidden Demos 1985 / 1991” arrive on our doorstep.  Talk about a 180 degree turn in reviews!  Here, we find an inside out look into one of the musically more interesting bands of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s in regards to melodic hard rock / metal.  XYZ had a certain breezy feel to their songs that made them quite listenable and easy to play for a mix crowd.  “Can’t Get Over You”, an unreleased track, is an excellent example of this style.

The demo version of XYZ’s most well known song “Inside Out” is an interesting listen seeing how the song evolved.  Removing the extra vocals during the choruses proved to be a wise move in hindsight.  “High Life” puzzles me in how the hell did it not make their debut release.  It is strong single material circa 1988, instantly catchy and stands well against any song on the first CD.

“After The Rain” and “Souvenirs” both would have had the ladies flicking their lighters and swaying to the music.  “Souvenirs” in particular would work well for any fan of Warrant’s power ballads.

“Made For Love” from 1986 is a hard rocker that features some excellent vocal harmonies and shows the talent of  Terry Ilous.  “It Could Be You” has a definite Dokken vibe through it especially the guitar riffs and solos.  “Seventeen” is not a Winger cover and sounds more like a Steve Plunkett / Autograph penned track.  A nod towards Bon Jovi’s 7800 Fahrenheit comes from the track “Sorry” which calls to mind that long forgotten release as does a later track “Lonely Without You”.

Overall, “Forbidden Demos 1985 / 1991” is a wonderful time capsule of XYZ’s material and shows that not only could they right infectious rock tracks, but that they certainly had a flare for the tear jerker ballads as well.  The production and reworkings of certain songs sounds really good and the release possesses enough continuity that at 18 songs (several of which repeat) it is still an entertaining disc.

Track Listing:

1. Can’t Get Over You (previously unreleased)

2. Inside Out (Demo)

3. High Life

4. Follow the Night

5. You Got Me Wrong (Live)

6. After the Rain (Demo)

7. Souvenirs (Demo)

8. Made For Love

9. It Could Be You

10. Seventeen

11. Sorry

12. Lonely Without You

13. Missin You

14. Rainy Days

15. Lonely Without You

16. Never Too Late

17. Souvenirs

18. High Life