"Forbidden Demos 1985 / 1991" (FYCO Records; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The title of "Forbidden Demos" tells you pretty much what you'll find here. "Forbidden Demos" is a collection of demos and other artifacts from the vaults of this 80s-era band.

What's surprising isn't that the music contained herein is pretty solid (XYZ were always a respectable, if not uber-successful band), it's that the music is still so entertaining. Judging from the CD title, the newest song on this CD is still at least fourteen years old and yet most of "Forbidden Demos" still sounds fresh and dynamic. Oh, there are moments that are archaic; the keyboard rhythm of 1986's "Made for Love" sounds like it was made for 1986. But much of "Forbidden Demos" still rocks with the classic rock sound that defined the 80s and that's made a bit of a comeback today with bands such as The Darkness and The Golden Gods. From the syrupy ballad "Just a Friend" to the dumb-but-fun head-banging anthem "Seventeen" to faster, brighter rockers like "Can't Get Over You," "Forbidden Demos" has a little of everything. There are even a few songs that have appeared on previous XYZ albums but appear here in a slightly different mix and/or arrangement.

Some of that freshness may be due to the fact that the many of the tracks on the CD have been re-mastered and nicely so. Some of it may have to do with the fact that this classic era of heavy metal has a certain evergreen appeal. And some of it has to do, of course, with the talent and personalities of the band.

Speaking of the band, there are several different line-ups represented here but all of them are strong. For the convenience of the band's fans, I've listed the entire tracklisting below, with notes as they appear on the band's website. 

Overall, "Forbidden Demos" succeeds in a couple of ways: First as a great compilation of rarities for fans to add to their XYZ collection, and second as a an enjoyable trip back to the days when 80s metal was huge. 

1. "Can't Get Over You" (1990 - previously unreleased)
2. "Inside Out" (Demo - 1988)
3. "High Life" (with Marc Diglio - 1988)
4. "Follow the Night" (Live - 1988)
5. "You Got Me Wrong" (Live - 1988)
6. "After the Rain" (Demo - 1987)
7. "Souvenirs" (Demo with Marc Diglio - 1988)
8. "Made For Love" (1986)
9. "It Could Be You" (1986)
10. "Seventeen" (1986)
11. "Just A Friend" (1985)
12. "Lonely Without You" (with Marc Diglio)
13. "Missin You" (with Marc Diglio)
14. "Rainy Days" (with Bobby Pieper)
15. "Lonely Without You" (with Bobby Pieper)
16. "Never Too Late" (with Bobby Pieper)
17. "Souvenirs" (with Bobby Pieper),
18. "High Life" (with Bobby Pieper).

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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