Release Date: 28 Oct. 2016
Label: Primordial Records
Meyrick de la Fuente -Vocals
Kurt Valencia – Guitar
James Hewitt – Guitar
David Billote – Bass/Vocals
Charlie Bines – Drums
Breathe Track Listing:
It’s not every day that one hears a modern day metal band produce an album that truly challenges the stereotypical sound that may be expected from contemporary metal acts. Enter Exist Immortal, London based metal heads releasing their second album just last week. I’ve spent the last four days immersed in the experience that is Breathe and I can’t seem to stop listening to this incredibly versatile and talented group of musicians and this gem of an album they’ve produced.
No more than five years on the metal scene, Exist Immortal’s sound is a uniquely balanced mixture of thrash, fantasy, hardcore punk, which some may call Metalcore, yet the seamless integration with which the band has brought these together is a testament to their musicianship and skill. In addition, these guys have thrown in a bit of electronica on tracks like Saviour and In Hindsight adding another dimension to their already distinctive sound.
So let’s get down to brass tax – this album is not for the faint hearted. Tracks like Invisible Lines and Misconduct, kick off with no bullshit thrash, blisteringly hard hitting drumming coupled with flawlessly executed guitar riffs and bass lines to match not to mention the quintessential growl that has mosh pits swirling in unison. It’s what comes next that makes Exist Immortal’s sound theirs and theirs alone. At a minute and ten seconds into the track, the thrash switch is disengaged with the growling vocals giving way to some powerful melodic verses backed by sweeping spatial guitar arpeggios delivered with flawless accuracy. A further minute in, the gritty growl and guitar riffs, treading the fine line between dissonance and perfection, kick back in as if a different band were playing. Attacking their instruments with rhythms to rival the burst fire from an M-16 rifle, the band takes the track into a half tempo groove with a haunting guitar overlay before clean vocals and melodic guitar riffs return, only this time with a fuller, more interactive execution of the melody. I have to pause here to commend the incredible guitar work on this album, each riff being thoughtfully crafted and placed in the track, building in complexity as the track progresses yet maintaining a degree of groove that so many metal bands lose in search of technical proficiency. By no means should one take that to mean that Exist Immortal aren’t masters in their craft, far from it. The song writing, arrangement and the intertwined nature of their chalk and cheese sound all stem from their evidently mature and deep understanding of composition and technical proficiency.
The album holds additional treasures such as Erode and Escape, both of which have a relatively greater degree of fantasy evident in their composition. That’s not to suggest that the thrash is missing from either of these tracks but there is relatively a greater degree of melodic influence evident in their composition which, again is a testament to how versatile Exist Immortal are.
Possibly the most complete embodiment of Exist Immortal’s sound is the title track Breathe. A catchy guitar riff to kick off a verse full of clean vocal melodies and a chorus full of harmonies lull the listener into the comfort of a hard hitting rock song, oblivious to the upcoming brutality of verse two. The ease with which the vocals jump into the growl speaks volumes of the adaptability of the vocals on the album. Further on breakdowns through the track and towards the end create the perfect sonic brew that metal heads love head banging to. Truly an all-encompassing experience of the sound that Exist Immortal have developed.
I can go on for hours about this album but the bottom line is that Exist Immortal have absolutely nailed this one with their song writing, virtuosity and execution. Do yourself a favour and get the album, better yet catch them live the next time they’re in your neighbourhood.
Review: Karan Dutta