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Exist - So True, So Bound Award winner

So True, So Bound
by Gabriel “Svrtr” Zimmerman at 17 June 2017, 9:31 AM

Today I get to present a band that undoubtedly provided the greatest amount of trouble in finding any info on their background or current state of affairs in the form  of the hybrid Technical Death Metal and Progressive Metal band EXIST, or at the very least one of at least 4 or 5 other bands named exist (hence the difficulty in finding info on them). However, compared to some of the more staple samples of prog metal what we are given sounds and feels more restrained, somewhat throwing to the wind the overly complex displays of showmanship  and measured music composure that some say bless the genre and others say haunts it preferring more intentionally guided and directed musicianship, focused perhaps being a better word. It is certainly a different direction from their previous album Descent that follows the more standard Jazz inspired grandiose and highly outgoing angle of prog, though for better or worse is to be found out as we dive right in.

The album opens with “Take My Picture”, but as if acting as a seer’s prophecy for what is to come, the track is odd in a number of ways. Unusual time signatures, unusual progression from riff to riff, and a hard to describe containment of beautifully blended small “Intricacies” as I once heard them  described by a fan of Prog Metal. As stated before, prog metal is known for being outgoing and energetic in wild ways akin to Death or Black Metal, but in a way with heavy emphasis and rejoice in a cerebral sense as some might put it. The riffs are one of the oddest features, in the way they move and progress from chord to chord, but it is not blaring in your face that they are  trying to be technical and mathematical but are subtly beautifully composed, and even beyond this the song is beautiful, especially in how it ends. Focusing on the more brutal and raw in the beginning half, it slowly but gradually shifts into the more melodic in a way that one might notice if they were not paying attention. This transition is masterfully executed, yet I shall stop here as there are many other parts of the album to cover.

Because I do not want to cause this to be too great in length, sadly I cannot cover “Happily Ever After (For a Week or So…)” but I will say that you should listen to the song and it is highly recommended. Instead  I will be covering the duo namesake songs of the album “So True: Imitation’s Flattery” and “So Bound: One of the Herd”. The first certainly seems to serve as an opening, in fact it almost could be a lullaby in most regards. It is very melodic and calm in its riffs and its rhythmic continuity. Besides the opening its rhythmic nature and gradual progression creates a very cerebral sense that puts one in a very calm state of mind, which is a bit of a duality compared to the latter song just through listening to the opening alone. Far more discordant in sound (though still just as composed in the actual musical sense) and featuring some breakdown esque elements, it does later progress into a far more melodic and subsequently cerebral sound later on and continues to employ some odd time signatures that shift between being in sync with everything or intentionally running against everything for the chaotic sound it creates.  I will admit, I can be a sucker for softer or melodic elements that are well constructed and placed in the middle/bridge of a song that serves as a buildup and almost as an exposition for a song (I am certainly the biggest sucker for “The Holy Mountain” by SLICE THE CAKE) and this song has it and again executes it masterfully, and as cliche as it has it later has the duality of some of the more chaotic sounds play over these melodic elements for a great sound, and though I do love it it is still a cliche but one loved in Metal like buildups and breakdowns (by different  crowds though).

It is a shame that this album is so well done because there was so much I would love to cover but brevity is an issue, and being that this is a well made oddity of Prog Metal I feel that there is a great deal to say about it being that it is both progressive and an antithesis to prog metal. EXIST has certainly created a masterpiece, showing that one can exist within a genre but run counter to it simultaneously, all the while still maintaining a sense of self. For fans of Prog and all else alike I highly recommend this album so full of paradoxes and contradictions that blend together beautifully.

Songwriting 10
Originality 9
Memorability 10
Production 10

5 Star Rating

1. Take My Picture
2. Happily Ever After (For a Week or So…)
3. So True: Imitation’s Flattery
4. So Bound: One of the Herd
5. Peer Prejudice
6. To Sever the Strings
7. Shade From my Fire
8. Fault’s Peak
Max Phelps - Vocals
Alex Weber - Bass
Matt Rossa - Guitar
Hannes Grossmann - Drums
Record Label: Prosthetic Records


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