Build a majestic beast of a proposition from the predatory instincts of Meshuggah and Scar Symmetry, the rapacious technical instincts of Periphery, and the melodic poetry of Circles and you will most likely come up with UK metallers Exist Immortal, though this is not to say that the London quartet does not have its own distinct voice as superbly evidenced by new album Darkness Of An Age. The imposing release is a monster of an encounter, a gloriously adventurous and imaginative journey unafraid to align the darkest vicious shadows with the most radiant mesmeric beauty. Cast over ten explorations, the release alone makes the most compelling reasoning as to why the London quintet is so highly thought of.
Formed in 2011, Exist Immortal have taken little time in establishing a rigorous reputation for their mature and inventive sound as well as their ferocious live performances which has seen the band play UK Tech Metal fest alongside the likes of Textures and Sylosis, as well as making inroads across the UK, Europe, and Asia. The band first stole our eye and attention with their mini-album Dream Sequence at the tail of last year, a tantalising and incendiary fuse for the passions which left thoughts reeling and emotions full. Darkness Of An Age takes the imagination on a heavier and darker exploration than its predecessor, one so intense that first impressions asked questions in its success against the sensational previous release. With every listen revealing new depths, triumphs, and temptations within the brutally seductive offering though, Darkness Of An Age has proven to be another dramatically masterful treat from one of Britain’s most seriously inventive metal bands.
The album emerges through an evocative breeze of keys as opener Insanity Project makes its initial play for ears and imagination; the engaging entrance swiftly joined by an equally inviting guitar coaxing. It is crystalline bait which continues to tempt as rhythms punch their rigorous weight within an expanding squall of intensive riffs and a portentous bass sound. Vocally raw growls align to excellent clean tones, the voice of Meyrick de la Fuente ably assisted by that of guitarist Tom Montgomery, just as uniquely impressive and expressive as on the last release. The track continues to twist and spread its inventive toxins around senses and thoughts, immediately feeling angrier and more venomous than those found upon Dream Sequence. The new release sees the band exploring new territory emotionally and lyrically in an impacting move which takes thoughts aback at first but only adds weight and intrigue to the immense start of the album.
The following Legions lays jagged riffery and sonic scythes across the air next, its entrance an acidically fuelled wall of barbarous intent. It soon evolves into a fiery prowl though, clean vocals taking over from the vicious roars as the guitars of Montgomery and Kurt Valencia sculpt a captivating design of uncompromising predation and sinew framed seduction. Flailing with strict muscles and caressing with sultry keys, the track brews a contagion which is as fearsome as it is virulently addictive for the first major pinnacle of the towering adventure. The finale burns like a raging fire before elegantly relenting and making way for the similarly crafted In Parallax. Though ultimately different in character the song is similar to its predecessor at its beginning before worming its way under the skin to develop its own identity with niggling and delicious sonic toxicity beneath potent clean vocals. Skirted by the animalistic voice of David Billote’s bass and the rapier thrusts of Fergus Gardiner’s rhythms, the track emerges as an irrepressible enticement.
There is a heavier involvement of the dark caustic vocal delivery on the album than upon Dream Sequence, a more fifty-fifty split with the mellow soars which works well but whether it brings the same success as the higher clean vocal percentage of the previous release, such the excellence of de la Fuente in that style, is still under debate. Darkness Of An Age has a more malevolent darkness across the board though so it is an understandable move which really shows its potential in the excellent Edge Of Infinity, the track a captivating swirl of progressive investigation within a tortuous metalcore causticity coated by a ravenous voracity speared by djent bred stabs.
Both the enthralling Imperator and the immensely riveting Desolace seize the imagination next, the first sparking greed in an already eager appetite through synths which bring perfectly orchestrated emotion and colour to the tempest before them. Its successor casts a warmer more temperate climate to its storm allowing de la Fuente to sing from the first breath as keys and melodies reinvent the scenery with beauty and startling ideation. It is a mouthwatering invention which courts perfectly the ever poised rabidity of guitars and rhythms which take their share of the plaudits on the album’s highest pinnacle so far. Vocally too, the mix of seduction and violence is spot on, bringing the heart and rich landscape of the song to bear on the listener.
Like a trigger the song seems to ignite the release to stronger adventure, The Participant next unveiling a maelstrom of sonic and vocal ingenuity which thrusts numerous styles into one tempestuously inventive tsunami. The track whips up the passions to an even greater pleasure with its explosive and intelligent ravishment, the song standing side by side with hands on the best track title with the previous glory, though both are soon under pressure for the honour from the excitingly abrasive Embrace The Cycle and the corrosively appealing Liberator which features Sam Rudderforth from The Colour Line. Neither manages to quite live up to the demands but still leave bloated satisfaction in their creative wake whilst the closing brilliance of The Omen Machine ensures the album leaves a final peak foraging senses and emotions with its suitably toxic and endlessly invigorating inventive ferocity.
Though Dream Sequence still just has the edge on the two albums, Darkness Of An Age is a dramatically refreshing and thunderously inventive incitement from a band easy to assume that will have a major say on the future of certainly progressive and technical metal in Europe. Exist Immortal has all the potential to be a major player; the evidence is all there in the album.
The self-released Darkness Of An Age is available now @ http://existimmortal.bandcamp.com/album/darkness-of-an-age
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