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Exocrine - Molte Giant

Molte Giant
by Martin Knap at 07 August 2018, 5:59 AM

With their third album out this year and a record deal with Unique Leader Records, the four Frenchmen who go by the name EXOCRINE are certainly no Tech-Death noobs. I haven´t heard any of their previous material, the reader will kindly excuse me from commenting on the progress of the band and from making comparisons to previous albums. But the compact and impactful Tech-Death maelstorm that is "Molten Giant" gives me plenty to talk about, even if it´s only 35 minutes long.

The obvious referece points for EXOCRINE are Tech-Death giants like SPAWN OF POSSESSION or NECROPHAGIST, as well as the modern Death Metal sound that bands signed to Unique Leader are known for. There is an added progressive element in their music, and so we get an infusion of melodic guitar leads and more laid-back sections reminiscent of CYNIC mixed into all the brutal pounding and sweeping arpeggios. I think this - the constant shifting between brutal and almost mellow - pretty much describes the formula that these guys adhere to, but how they translate the formula into actual songs is whole other issue, of course.

Bands that play this kind of music always run the risk of ending up with a "riff salad" and not being able to write anything that sticks, but EXOCRINE know how to make the songs memorable. The second song "Hayato", for example, has a pretty memorable vocal hook in the chorus accompanied by some very cool tapped guitar harmonics; the song features a slick solo, that is quite pleasing on the ear, but is followed by face-melting Death Metal section. It is not the only song where the band uses to a good - although a bit dizzying - effect a shift from slick soloing to heavy and nasty. The fifth song "Flamewalkers"  has the same kind of shift, as well as a strong chorus with a somewhat "blackened" atmosphere.

This brings me to another strong point of the band, and that is their knack for creating a captivating atmosphere. You can hear it in "Lavaburst", that has a section where a moody lead guitar melody is accompanied - to a great dramatic effect. The aforementioned song "Flamewalkers" has a minute long outro that is quite cinematic; the album features one short interlude that is done with quite a lot of skill - it would fit nicely into a computer game or on a FLESHGOD APPOCALYPSE record. All the songs on the album are rather snappy, there is only one longer song - about eight minutes - that may feel somewhat disjointed, at least at the firs listen or two.

After the first couple of listens this was just a "good" record to me - a technically flawless record that falls short of being memorable. I felt like the songwriting suffered from the disjointedness that is characteristic for some Prog and Tech-Death bands. But as I kept listening patterns started to emerge and the music started make more sense to me. EXOCRINE may not be up there with SPAWN OF POSSESSION in terms of writing insanely technical songs that are at the same time coherent pieces of music, but that´s also because they are pushing the limits of what can be considered a song a bit more. I think this record will speak mostly to Tech-Death affectionados, others may need some time to "get into it", but the effort will surely be rewarded.

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Scorched Human Society
2. Hayato
3. Backdraft
4. Molten Giant
5. Flamewalkers
6. Lavaburst
7. Behind the Wall
8. The Shape of New World
Jordy Besse - Bass, Vocals
Nicolas La Rosa - Guitars
Sylvain Octor-Perez - Lead Guitars
Michaël Martin - Drums
Record Label: Unique Leader Records


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