[12th May 2014]
01. Insanity Project
03. In Parallax
04. Edge Of Infinity
07. The Participant
08. Embrace The Cycle
09. Liberator (feat. Sam Rudderforth)
10. The Omen Machine
I love it when a plan comes together. Over the past couple of years, Exist Immortal have become stalwarts of the burgeoning UK tech-metal circuit, particularly in their native London. 2013′s Dream Sequence mini-album was virtually dripping with promise. Now, after a hectic year of writing and performing, the band are set to drop their first full-length effort, Darkness Of An Age.
Recent live shows and lead single “Edge of Infinity” have given hints of the steps forward that the band have been taking – but the album shows that, in fact, they were giant strides. Purely and simply, Darkness Of An Age is a beast of record.
Exist Immortal have now refined a sound that draws influence from the old school as well as the new, with the results sitting on the modern metal spectrum somewhere between Tesseract, Textures and Xerath. Face-peeling shred and weighty crunch sit comfortably alongside orchestral passages and arresting melodies. Most importantly, Exist Immortal understand the potency of an effective chorus, and stand-out examples like “Desolace” and “The Participant” are – frankly – absurdly hooky.
Central to the effectiveness of these hooks is singer (yes, that’s ‘singer’ and not ‘vocalist’) Meyrick de la Fuente, whose voice has matured significantly. It is packed with personality, whether bellowing his lungs out or delivering the soaring chorus melodies that will lodge themselves in your head for days. Pulling a double-duty, Meyrick also produced the album. It is a testament to his skills behind the desk that he’s been able to distance himself enough from his own creations to pull together such a clear and well balanced mix.
The clarity of the mix is particularly impressive because there is a LOT going on in these tracks. Guitarists Tom Montgomery and Kurt Valencia are a formidable pairing, kicking out riffs that deftly walk the line between groove and technical trickery. Trading rhythm and lead parts between them, “Legions” contains some particularly tasty examples of what these two are capable of.
The bass is often the first casualty of a mix, but David Billote’s distinctive tone and flirtations with slap techniques give his parts a clearly defined space of their own. On top of all that, the band pile synths, strings and even a piano or two. The fact that even with five or more parts playing simultaneously, everything is clearly audible is little short of miraculous, with everything really coming together on “Imperator“. There are plenty of recordings that sound more cluttered with fewer ingredients than Darkness of an Age, which just underscores Exist Immortal’s collective songwriting acumen.
The Colour Line‘s Sam Rudderforth pops up on “Liberator” to trade vocal lines with Meyrick, adding yet more diversity to the pot. Oddly, the opening and closing tracks feel like the least memorable moments, but they bookend songs with breathtakingly few weak spots.
The bottom line is that Exist Immortal are no longer ‘emerging’ – they have emerged and practically demand to be taken seriously. They have kept the promise made in their earlier efforts and delivered on their potential. Darkness Of An Age is a top quality slice if modern metal that is distinctive, imaginative and damn near essential listening.
You can order the album from the Exist Immortal’s Bandcamp page here.