Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Exist Immortal: 'Breathe' - Album Review

Tech metal can be a very fickle world to review. It ultimately comes down to one big factor, which is a pitfall that many bands find themselves in. It can be all too easy to make music that is so uncompromisingly dense, ultimately making for a polyrhythmic mess with no centre of direction. In other words, it’s shredding for the sake of shredding. Granted, these are unquestionably stellar musicians from a technical standpoint, but even gods can bleed. Few and far between does a tech metal band stand out, but after listening to Breathe, the new album by London based seven-string slayers, Exist Immortal, the genre may have found its new champions.
             2016 Has been one hell of a great year for music, as up and coming bands are producing some of the best sounds in 10-years, yet, it’s still getting better! Released last month, Breathe is a huge step forward for the West-London five-piece, only adding to the spender this year has brought. You can leave you protractor and calculator at home, as it has been so long a record which sits so firmly in the tech metal genre is so digestible and captivating. Aggressively touring the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, Exist Immortal have found a formula that will have you hooked from beginning to end.
            This is a band that isn’t fucking around. Being the third installment in their expanding repertoire, they have nailed their sound without question. Meyrick de la Fuente’s heart felt vocal melodies soar majestically over gut-pounding riffs that could wind a Sumo wrestler. There is a definite Tesseract-ian element that flirts with Meshuggah and Animals As Leaders to Exist Immortal’s sound. No matter how you look at it, that is a dynamite recipe for a band.
            Many argue that with melody, heaviness is sacrificed in the process. This could not be any further from the truth, as the weight this album carries is quite immense. Delving into the darker side of the human mind, Follow Alone is the more notable track on the album that will tug at your soul. For our money however, Lucid is the emotional heavyweight on the album, stirring some proper feels with a chorus so epic it could have been written on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. 
            At no point on this record does the musicianship feel pretentious or ludicrously bombast. The songs take centre stage, not the individual. Kurt Valencia (guitar) and James Hewitt (guitar) are a killer duo that have blended their uncanny knowledge of technical riffery with the desire to write pure bangers. Invisible Lines is one such tune that shows the extremity of heaviness Exist Immortal are willing to plunge our skulls into. Complemented with a gorgeous arpeggiated section towards the penultimate outro, it’s this kind of song writing that restores faith in the artistry of metal.  
            Texturally, Breathe has a colourful blend that has all the hallmarks of what tech fans would come to expect. It should be noted that the word ‘atmospheric’ can go suck a fat one as far as this reviewer is concerned. Reason being, that word has devalued beautiful sonic ethereality, which has been watered down more times than the Ribena at a 10-year-olds birthday party. Pleased to say that Exist Immortal don’t fall quite as easily into this trap, the soundscaping is subtle enough to engage your brain without losing sight, pace or most importantly – groove.
            If you haven’t been paying attention to Exist Immortal (or indeed this review), you do so at your own peril. Watch this space.

Breathe is out now via Primordial



Fuel Rock Club

Fuel Rock Club
Cardiff's Only Dedicated Rock & Metal Bar and Club