xLooking Forwardx - The Path We Tread (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

xLooking Forwardx

The Path We Tread (2005)


Imagine, if you will, a brand of modern hardcore that matches the dynamics of earlier Stretch Arm Strong and the feel-good melody of Good Clean Fun (however more serious the band being reviewed in question may be) with a slight metallic edge many of their peers choose to perhaps overdraw from. That's xLooking Forwardx in a nutshell.

Yes, the band is Christian, and they don't hide it on The Path We Tread; several songs directly reference God (see "You're a beautiful creation no matter who you are" preceding His name in "You're Worth It"). And neither do they hide their straight-edge values, as if these weren't given away in the band's name. Fortunately for the secular and/or casual drinker (and up, perhaps) listener, it's the band's overwhelmingly positive vibes that make the lyrics concerning these values easy to swallow. "Sidelines" asks to act on complaints about today's hardcore scene or to not bother altogether, while "For Those Who Believe" and "Each Step" gives thanks to The Dude Above without actually directly referencing His name.

The band's breakdowns are cleanly integrated, and give the band a bit of its heavier edge without the usually given mindset of "tearing this shit up!" (think someone like the aforementioned Stretch as opposed to someone like Terror). They're quick and executed nicely in between galloping double bass drums and a constant, straight-forward attack from the band. Melody abounds in a subtle manner throughout as well.

You probably already know if you'll like this or not. Looking Forward's The Path We Tread's Christian and straight-edge values may be a bit much for some, but the music is quite well-put together hardcore punk, and the vibe here is more positive and accepting than...well, the obvious opposite.

The Path We Tread
All Aces