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Not bad by modern thrash standards. - 72%

hells_unicorn, October 30th, 2008

The only way that the sounds on here can be summed up without sacrificing brevity is as an adherent to modern metal. The musical presentation is fairly multifaceted and could be described using several of the dozens of sub-genres within sub-genres existing in the current metal umbrella, but the underlying drive is the spirit that the style has exhibited post-1992. The production atmosphere is very dark and industrial sounding, taking some cues from early Machine Head and Nevermore, particularly with regard to the groovy riffing approach and down-tuned yet mechanical sounding guitar tracks.

Insofar as the band’s thrash metal credentials, they definitely fall into the modern sounding version of the style, particularly resembling acts like Machinery. The songs tend to be fairly reserved tempo wise and ride on about 5 riffs or so, relying largely on vocal and drum beat contrast to maintain the flow of each song. Vocalist Niclas "Nesmoth" Thomsen has one of those really woeful yet powerful baritone voices that suit this genre quite well. A lot of the time he sounds like a cross between Warrel Dane and Ozzy Osbourne, although occasionally when growling parallels to Chuck Billy’s work with Testament since “The Ritual” can’t be ignored.

Although the band’s songwriting is fairly competent, the most impressive aspect of this demo is the production. Although the band isn’t backed by any label as of yet, due to the status as most of these musicians being veterans of the Norwegian metal scene they were likely able to procure studio access that newcomers sporting a brand new project might not be so blessed by. Anyone who has heard Testament’s latest offering or Nevermore’s “This Godless Endeavor” will likely know what I mean when I say when I speak of music exhibiting an ultra dense, guitar heavy sound that no garage band could ever hope to attain, which is what this demo shares in common with said releases.

The songs themselves work from a largely riff and groove oriented approach, so there isn’t a whole lot of lead guitar majesty or overtly technical material to speak of on here. The songs are catchy enough and everything is pulled off competently, but it comes off as a little bit plain for a band sporting the thrash metal label. The pick of the bunch is easily the title track “Exile” for a superior vocal job and some pretty interesting doom/southern metal sounding material during the verses that contrasts really nicely with the groovy, industrial sounding material surrounding it. The album’s closer “Fatal Creation” is also pretty solid, listening like a slightly catchier and more power metal oriented take on the modern thrash method on display on Nevermore’s latest material.

If nothing else, this demo sort of disproves two common misconceptions that many fans of metal have in certain areas of their favorite genre of music. The first is that groovy sounding modern thrash is uniformly bad, which is a pretty common misconception that I myself had fallen into given all of the really bad material put out in the style. The other is that power metal musicians only play Dungeons and Dragons oriented music, which is nowhere to be found on here despite 3 members of this band being involved in projects that have put out such material. If you like bands like Nevermore and In Flames during their transitional period circa “Whoracle” and “Clayman”, this will definitely be a band to watch.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on October 30, 2008.