Exmortus releases this week its debut album for its new label, Prosthetic Records. The band’s new album, titled Slave to the Sword is not the band’s first album. It is in fact the third full length studio release from the Whittier, California based metal act. But being the first for its new label, this latest release is one heck of a first impression for the band’s new bosses. As a matter of fact, Slave to the Sword is in this critic’s ears, the first truly great metal record of 2014. One needs listen to this record just one time to figure out why it is deserving of this title. Right from the opening assault of ‘Rising’, the band’s members show just how much they have honed their craft over the course of two previous releases to create this new metal masterpiece. The album’s opener is just the tip of the iceberg…sword?…for the band on this record. ‘Immortality Made Flesh’ and the band’s full on power metal cover of composer Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata (Act 3)’ show just how much Exmortus’ members have grown in terms of their talent up to this point. As impressive as these pieces are, they are just pieces of the whole that any purist metalhead will appreciate from Exmortus on this its third album. Every listener will find his or her own favorite song(s) when they pick up Slave to the Sword for themselves.
Exmortus opens its new album fittingly with the song ‘Rising.’ Vocalist Conan screams ominously over the full on shredding attack of guitarist David Rivera, “Welcome/To the realm of darkness/We are anxious for your blood/Rising/From the depths we crawl/Rising/To devour all.” Conan’s vocal style is interesting. It’s interesting because believe it or not, even with the growl, it doesn’t come across like that of so many other vocalists’ sounds that are little more than the standard cookie monster growl. Rivera’s full throttle shredding is a nice addition, too. Instead of the standard down-tuned, crunching guitars that seem to dominate so much of the metal community today, one can almost see smoke coming from Rivera’s fingers as they make their way up and down the neck of his guitar. One need not even physically see Rivera play to be able to pick up on his talent. Of course drummer Mario Moreno is well worth mentioning here, too along with bassist Jovanni Perez. Moreno’s chops are incredibly solid throughout the course of the song’s near four-minute run time. His timekeeping throughout the song is solid as a rock, even with all of the runs that he executes. And Perez is right there with Moreno, neither man missing a single note or beat. The unit as a whole combines throughout the entire piece to make ‘Rising’ feel like a perfect opener both on record and in a live setting.
‘Rising’ is a fitting starting point for Exmortus on this record. That’s because it shows without a shadow of a doubt that this band is indeed rising in the ranks of the metal world. It proves this even more as it powers its way through the album’s third track, ‘Immortality Made Flesh.’ This single is available now for download from the Prosthetic Records online store at http://www.indiemerch.com/prostheticrecords/item/23123. This track stands out so well because it exhibits much the same power from the band that is displayed through the album’s opener. The difference between the two is that the energy established in ‘Rising’ is stepped up tenfold in this full throttle speed/thrash opus. There is in this song, more of a sense of urgency in David Rivera’s performance here for lack of better wording. Conan’s dark Amon Amarth style lyrics and vocals are just as strong, too. So much more could be noted. Simply put, their talent set alongside that of their band mates makes this song one of the highest of highs on this record.
‘Immortality Made Flesh’ is one of the highest points on Exmortus’ new record. There is at least one more song that is more than deserving of being called a high point, though. That song is the band’s amped up cover of composer Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata (Act 3).’ Conan gets to give his vocals arrest on this piece while his band mates get the chance to shine more than ever. Its collective talent instantly conjures thoughts of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s album, Beethoven’s Last Night and of other amped up covers from the band. It truly shows the band’s talent and its versatility more than any other song included on this album. So it comes as no wonder that it has been chosen as the band’s latest single. It’s just one more of so many outstanding tracks that make this record again, the first truly great metal record of 2014.
The band is currently touring in support of Slave to the Sword. Fans in North Carolina will get to experience music from the band’s new album live when it comes to The Milestone in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 10th. Exmortus’ most current tour schedule, news and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/exmortusofficial. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.