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Exocrine – Maelstrom

by Cherie Wong at 20 May 2020, 8:24 PM

On June 26th, 2020, EXOCRINE is releasing “Maelstrom,” their fourth full-length album. EXOCRINE is a progressive/technical death metal band from France. Like many modern progressive and technical death metal bands, their music is layered. Each track is super technical, mixed with slow djent chords stylistic of brutal death metal and melodic breaks in the form of guitar melodies and trumpet solos. Yes, trumpets, an instrument not commonly heard in metal. Though recently, brass instruments have definitely started making more of an appearance in many genres of metal. The addition of a trumpet adds melody, but also a brassiness and its own kind of dissonance. It ties in well with the bright tone of the guitar and the jazzy melodies heard throughout. The trumpet heard at several points on the album is courtesy of Chris Gendron. Also making an appearance are retro synths that remind me of the “Stranger Things” Netflix show theme song. The vocals on the album are mostly low growls, with rare occurrences of clean singing and pig squeals.

The titular track “Maelstrom” kicks off the album. It’s a good intro track in that it ties together many of the sounds that are present on the album. It is chuggy and technical, though still melodic. Litha Anomy provides clean vocals in the chorus. Next up, “The Kraken” does its title justice; it is brutal and technical. The many riffs heard throughout the track convey an image of a creature rising from the deep sea. Julien Truchan from BENIGHTED (the awesome French death metal band) makes a cameo on this track. “Wall of Water” is another well-named track. The main riff throughout is slower, washing over the listener in churning waves. It is also the first appearance of the trumpet.

On “Abyssal Flesh,” the symphonic background is particularly noticeable, adding a bombastic punch in certain parts that reminds me of SEPTICFLESH. Just after the middle track is “The Wreck.” The intro is a soft, jazzy guitar melody that quickly leads into brutal death metal. The softer sound returns intermittently as melodic guitar riffs and trumpet solos. “Starvation Project” is more melodic than the other tracks, mostly due to the arpeggio driven riffs. “Galactic Gods” is a good summation of the album. More brutal death metal chugs are mixed with a fair number of melodic riffs. The trumpet makes an appearance for the last time, as do the synths.

Despite mixing a variety of sounds, like symphonic, jazz, and djent, the album is a cohesive and uniform release. That is mainly due to the underlying brutal death metal base of every track and the melodic motifs heard throughout. Overall, I recommend this band, especially to fans of technical death metal in the vein of BEYOND CREATION, GOROD, and ARCHSPIRE. Though none of the sounds individually are groundbreaking, together they form “Maelstrom,” which is a fantastic and well-done technical death metal release.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Maelstrom
2. The Kraken
3. Wall of Water
4. Abyssal Flesh
5. Orbital Station
6. The Wreck
7. Starvation Project
8. The Chosen One
9. Galactic Gods
Jordy Besse – Bass, Vocals
Nicolas La Rosa – Guitars
Sylvain Octor-Perez – Guitars
Théo Gendron – Drums
Record Label: Unique Leader Records


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