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Exxiles - Reminiscence: Act II Award winner

Reminiscence: Act II
by Andrew Harvey at 26 January 2022, 12:58 AM

EXXILES is a band that we would refer to as a ‘multinational band’ where all the members are from various countries and some may only appear as a guest on an album. The band started out with one musician who is MAURICIO BUSTAMANTE who is from Mexico and plays drums; he was a member of previous bands EVANGELIUM and REIGN OF THE ARCHITECT. MAURICIO started the band in 2012 after he left REIGN OF THE ARCHITECT. EXXILES have released an album before which was their debut album titled OBLIVION in 2015 which was released through Nightmare Records. They are now back again as their debut album was also the beginning of a trilogy, their second album is titled REMINISCENCE - ACT II which was released in September 2021. Their new album includes familiar names from their first album and new names too, the album itself in terms of sound is as the band would say is a combination of symphonic & progressive metal. The second album opens with “Creation” which is certainly a wonderful crescendo of symphonic bliss with percussive rhythm, angelic voices and progressive sound effects luring in the audio spectrum. Imagery in this track can be seen maybe like a magical land from a fictional book.

“Last Commun Ancestor” has the symphonic intro we heard before plus some keyboard sounds or programmed music to bring out the progressive sound. Vocals and instruments like electric guitar, bass & drums set a modern or new approach on progressive metal with tempo variation, dynamics and percussive rhythm. “Lucy” sets a precedence of dynamic drumming, slow symphonic movements and what sounds like piano to capture the brightness of this track. The vocals also lead the glorious arrangement and beautiful contrast between symphonic or progressive metal. The soft touch and gentle vocal line amalgamates very well with other instruments as we go into the next track, “Alone” which piano bridges the previous track morphing into the next track. Lead vocals are now taken over by ARTHANIS CALAFALAS with a somber but peaceful tone. We feel more relaxed now and perhaps put into a dream state of mind, the smooth flow and subtle orchestration symbolizes such a fantasy.

As we go into the next track “Giordano Bruno” is the fifth track in line with galloping sound effects and panting before male vocals come back. Drums set the rhythm with vocals leading a strong collaboration of other instruments, brilliantly executed. Vocals led by DAVID AKESSON are continuously going into the sixth track, which is “In Some Place” quiets down here. Much more settled by piano setting a time scale for vocals to come through and a revolving soundscape of symphonic ideas from before. Clarity and focus exists in this track aside from the contrast of piano to the vocals plus other instruments. “You Don’t Own Me” starts with male vocals, a string instrument maybe violin and soft drumming as well as hints of electric guitar. Simply mesmerizing and sets a nice tone for male vocals to fly around the other instruments. Almost a combination of bands I love like a cross over of RADIOHEAD and MUSE at the same time. Into the next track which is titled “Soulseekers” again with piano chords. Vocals are whispering, then gradually embellish and the forces of drums, bass and electric guitar accompany in solo style. Each element has their chance to stand out from the shadows and blossom.

“Take Me Home” with enduring vocals and acoustic guitar highlighted by tapping rhythm with some electric guitar is there but now into the next track, “Words Of Humanity”. Another fine example of symphonic and orchestral arrangement but also features a spoken word or speech by the civil rights activist MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. We also hear what sounds like gunfire, people crying or shouting, maybe audio from a new reel of a protest gone wrong. Into the penultimate track “Unstoppable Rising Tide” with a more progressive sound barrier of drums, electric guitar, bass & vocals intertwined with one another. A slight darker tone halfway through for a brief movement before the drums and guitar takes command. The dynamic is more diverse and versatile, even operatic with vocals at the end, now onto the final track “The Judgement (Dark Renaissance Part II)”. Another battle cry of glorious music and tone for vocals, male or female, to come though. There is string plucking and orchestral sounds. There is also a percussive and rhythmic element, maybe oriental touch. Overall a very diverse album full of surprises and unexpected additional sounds, makes this album unique, giving it it’s own identity. A wonderful album, can’t wait to hear a follow-up!

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

4 Star Rating

1. Creation
2. Last Commun Ancestor
3. Lucy
4. Alone
5. Giordano Bruno
6. In Some Place
7. You Don’t Own Me
8. Soulseekers
9. Take Me Home
10. Words Of Humanity
11. Unstoppable Rising Tide
12. The Judgement (Dark Renaissance Part II)
Donna Burke - Vocals
David Akesson - Vocals
Arthalis Calafalas - Vocals
Wilmer Waarbroek - Vocals
Chris Caffrey - Guitars
Oddleif Stensland - Guitars
Mike Lepond - Bass
Mauricio Bustamante - Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 05 December 2022

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