Self-described as progressive fusion-metal, the band Exist got in contact with me yesterday asking me to take a look at their new EP, In Mirrors. Because I really do try to listen to everything everyone sends us, I gave the EP a once over and found it to be generally enjoyable. It’s not much as far as a review goes, I know this, but I’m a little overwhelmed with other stuff at the moment so for now a few short words after the jump will have to suffice. Oh, and before I go on, I’ll let you know that band is giving away the EP in case you’d rather just grab it and skip the review.
Exist’s self-description was actually pretty accurate. They create an interesting brand of metal that draws more heavily from the psychedelic and jazzy than it seems to from death or progressive metals. Each track is long and features shifts in trajectory from the smooth and almost sensual, to aggressive, pummeling, and often back again...
The following is a track by track:
The first song on the EP is titled Writhe. Clocking in at over nine minutes it’s the longest track on the album and may be the strongest. The jazzy, bass-driven riffs are reminiscent of those of the great Hieronymus Bosch, while others, like when the track slows way down at about the 4:45 minute mark are almost Opethian. Near the end of the end of the track, if I’m not mistaken, I can hear a Mahavishnu Orchestra influence. Mahavishnu Orchestra is admittedly pretty obscure but they are what I know in terms of fusion, jazzy rock stuff. If the band doesn’t know them, they should. The vocals throughout are harsh and growled in the typical death metal fashion.
The second track on the EP is In Mirrors I: The Pine. After two minutes of (you guessed it) a repeating bass-heavy riff the vocals kicked in and I was surprised to find were cleanly sung. This track is mellow, and not at all metal until about five minutes in. Once again many of the riffs, especially as they transition from soft to hard remind me of Opeth and occasionally even Cynic. I found the vocalist impressing me much more on this track than on the first.
We’ve now come to the shortest track on the EP, titled In Mirrors II: “So We Are…” I’d like to recant my initial statement that the first song on this EP is the strongest. No, if you are patient, it’s this one. The beginning of the song is long, drawn out and “jammy”. Once again I’ll refer you to Mahavishnu Orchestra. When it kicks in the band seems to be the most cogent it’s been this whole EP.
This second to last song bleeds right into the final track, the instrumental In Mirrors III: Equilibrium. Really this track does nothing for the EP save giving each member of the band a moment in the spotlight to impress upon you just how efficient they are as musicians. Oddly, this last song really sets the tone for this whole album; Each member is more than proficient as his instrument but as a whole the band could use a little maturation in terms of song structure.
I admit this is not at all the kind of metal I usually listen to. It’s not anything I condemn or ridicule; just not something I prefer. So, yes my review is biased in that regard, but I can personally think of a lot of people I know, and people who visit this site, who would really enjoy this. Fans of jazzy, psychedelic, metal. To them I say; download it forthwith!
In short: This is like a movie I watch once and really enjoyed but probably wouldn’t watch again unless it “happened to be on”. You know?
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