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Utterly disturbing - 95%

natrix, March 5th, 2007

This band changed styles after this album, much to the delight of modern "black" metal fans, making Exile a very unique album. Not just in the history of the band, but in the entire metal genre. It's some sort of fucked up futuristic vision of metal, but only in the grimest sense possible. Aparently, they were inspired by abstract art for the songs on here, which makes sense because I can't point out any musical influences (other than maybe Voivod for the weird chords), but it feels futuristic and spacey to me.

Every instrument is highly processed, making them seem robotic, and rightfully earning an "industrial" label. Hell, the drums sound especially robotic, but organic enough that I don't doubt it's a human playing them. The drummer is not particularily great, but adequete.

The guitars weave a particularily nasty spell around you, like cybernetic tentacles strangling you or alien brain waves intent on scrambling your mental health. They're not that up front, which kind of sucks, but the riffs are really creative. Sometimes they rage and grind in true metallic spirit, but for the most part, you get disturbing riffs. These can range from the crystalline clear passages that gleam like freshly polished surgical equipment to squealing, dischordant riffs that jarr your mind and ears. It's those dischordant riffs that I find particularily creepy, because they are just so out of place it feels like your ears are getting molested.

The singer is the only one who stayed with the band after this point (I believe), and his range is impressive. Most of the time, it's a black metal-ish snarl, fed through some processor so it sounds like it's a radio transmission coming off an alien space ship or something. Once in a while, he'll throw in a deathly growl, and even a weepy sounding clean part (think Philippe Courtois aka: SAS from Misanthrope on the early albums). Those weepy parts really add to the schizoid nature of this disk, bringing things to an all time nadir of human sanity.

It would be foolish to point out particular songs, because this album needs to be experienced as a whole. The songs are really short, with very little repetition, making it feel even more abstract. Each is bridged by strange soundscapes and samples, which lack continuity but further alienate the listener from reality. It's a macabre, nightmarish experience, flashing before your ears, and from which you will most likely remember key feelings rather than the music that produced them. At least on first listen. After that, it's still a bizarre experience.

Don't understand what I'm saying? You need to experience this yourself.

Psyberpunk death metal? Industrial black? I don't know what the hell you call this, but it's as disturbing as the artwork that graces its sleeve, and the bondage picture on the inlay card. I could imagine a suggestive person under the influence of a handful of psychedelic mushrooms thoroughly losing their mind after listening to this. It brings nightmarish visions of alien abductions, decay, and abstract thinking to your living room. And I do mean that in the best of ways: this is amazing, mindbending, original, and yes, HIGHLY ENJOYABLE!!!