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Exa – Ignite (EP)

Ignite (EP)
by Will Travers at 27 January 2020, 12:27 AM

Thrash Metal is often thought to be a bit of a dying sub genre of Heavy Metal. With the bigger names of SLAYER, ANTHRAX, METALLICA and MACHINE HEAD having dominated the scene for years and slowly beginning to come to the end of their careers, as was beautifully epitomized with Kerry King dropping his chains during SLAYER’s final show last year. Will we see a resurgence? I believe that the youngsters coming through are developing into their style well.

Here we come across EXA. Conceived in Germany back in 2014 as a school band by singer and guitarist Tom Exa we have been fortunate enough to witness the rise of these guys as they have began to really build their fanbase and catalogue on the Continent. In 2018, they released their four track EP “Ignite”, this was to be the first release of the band and what ultimately catapulted them to become a well-known group within the scene. The artwork for the album is itself very simplistic, but very well done. It simply has EXA’s logo with a background of fire. To me this is a clear indication to the title of the album “Ignite”, and the album definitely delivers on its title. Igniting the flame of the band within the European Thrash community.

The opening track, “The Summoner”, is a great indication of the group’s potential. With some classic brutal, Thrash riffs and a relentless pace that just invites the listener to move and get pumped up. However, it is also accented by some heavy headbanging breakdowns that allow you to catch your breath. Secondly we come to “Lesson In Arrogance”, and again we are witness to the talent that this young band possesses, with the entire four piece group coming together seamlessly to create another great song. Tom Exa provides the sweeping guitar runs that are sublimely supported by Johannes Lortz throughout.

Next is “Ignition” and I want you to do something when this song comes on. Close your eyes and imagine a fire starting, at first you have the small sparks that ignite, followed by the fire starting to take, finally you have an inferno blazing out of control. To me the music in this track helps me to portray that imagery. Again, this is a very well done song. A mention must go to a member of the band who may not always get recognition, Tamino Bosse, his work with the Bass throughout the EP has really set the foundations for all members to shine, the Bass lines support both Guitarists in their work and really add the meat to the bones of each song.

Finally, we come to “Of Father And Mother”. This, I’m sure will hold a special place within EXA’s hearts, as the band entered Metal Hammer’s Paradise Band Contest in 2018, and won. They were pitted against much more established bands with more releases and larger followings, however, due to the weight and success of this track alone they were successful. You can see why, with no messing about and some high-energy music you feel this has been written by a group who have twice the experience of EXA. Leon Pester controls the pace of the track expertly; in fact, he is the main driving force of the entire EP.

To finish I have to say that this a great example of a Thrash album, EXA should be very proud of what they have achieved with this release, they have managed to produce music that demonstrates their skill and maturity. If this EP, combined with their 2019 releases “Fuel For Fire” and “Loss Of Humanity”, are anything to set the standard by; then we are all in for a treat with their newly released debut album “Cut The Past”

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. The Summoner
2. Lesson In Arrogance
3. Ignition
4. Of Father And Mother
Tom Exa – Vocals/Lead Guitar
Johannes Lortz – Rhythm Guitar
Tamino Bosse – Bass Guitar
Leon Pester– Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 01 October 2020

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