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Despite Exile - Relics

Despite Exile
by Jose MaCall at 06 November 2017, 3:36 PM

DESPITE EXILE hit us with a face-wrecking volley of quick intricate riffs, challenging medleys, and melodic marauding that’s fit for destroying even the most discerning ears. There are elements of both Melodic and Technical Death Metal throughout. There are clear Deathcore influences at work here, however the brutality isn’t any watered down for it. Every song features crushing riffs that vary from being more melodic on tracks like “Absent Foundation” and “Death Drive” to being more intense like on “Deviant”. Either way, it’s fast and heavy and there are several sections that will allow a landlubber like you to bang their head around like a maniac before the brain trauma makes you all dizzy.

The drumming on this album is phenomenal. It’s breakneck speed throughout and the changes in rhythm are handled masterfully without a stutter. Even barring the magic of studio editing, the drummer is clearly very skilled here. For me, the percussions were a definite standout. The bass lines were hard for me to pick out; overall the rumbling was felt and was a little caught up in the wall of sound this release pitches at the listener. The guitar work, the ol’ flagship of the Metal Sea, so to speak. The riffs are absolutely killer here. It seemed as though these were two rhythm guitarists, because there is a distinct lack of solos here. Not that it’s absolutely essential; in fact this album is a straight crusher throughout. However, call me old fashioned if you must, but a few leads would’ve only enhanced an already great album, especially a Technical Death Metal project. That isn’t to say the axe men aren’t skilled, infact it’s clear they’re a talented bunch. The melodies and changes to song structure, the switch from menacingly heavy to serene are impressive. There are breakdowns, chugs, lightning-blitzes of high notes that crash back into brain-busting tremors of the low-end. It’s a great ride and the constant flux of tempo and composition keeps every song engaging throughout.

This is a band that gets how to mix a softer edge with ferocity. There are hints of some synth elements here and there. The occasional choir or background synth elements (“Introspector”), however it’s non-intrusive and only serves as a springboard to more slaying. I was really glad that this band stayed away from cleans. This may have been the make-or-break for me and the decision to commit to an all-out aural assault really sealed the deal. There are demonic howls, primal roars, and monstrous growls galore. The vocals were another high point for me as this was an uncompromising onslaught of vocal annihilation. There were sections of several songs that went to a lighter sounding place such as the last half of the song “Deviant” or some of the more subdued parts in “Of Imaginary Shipwrecks” and instead of taking that as a cue for cleans, the band doubled down on the barbaric throat barrage. It was a great creative choice and it solidifies this as a worthy admission to the realm of the Heavy Metal Gods.


Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Ghost Vessel: Adrift
2. Absent Foundation
3. Introspector
4. Deviant
5. Relics
6. Into the Gyres
7. Death Drive
8. Ghost Vessel: Swerve
9. Of Imaginary Shipwrecks
10. Submerge
11. Ephemeral
Jacopo Durisotti - Vocals
Giacomo Santini - Guitar
Carlo Andrea Ferraro - Guitar
Giovanni Minozzi - Bass
Simone Cestari – Drums
Record Label: Lifeforce Records


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Edited 30 May 2020

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