Ex Eye - Ex Eye review




Bandcamp music player
Reviewer:
9.2

27 users:
7.63
Band: Ex Eye
Album: Ex Eye
Release date: June 2017


01. Xenolith; The Anvil
02. Opposition/Perihelion; The Coil
03. Anaitis Hymnal; The Arkose Disc
04. Form Constant; The Grid
05. Tten Crowns; The Corruptor [Digital bonus]


This is a metal album made by jazz musicians. No, they're not Shining.

The roster of this band is quite impressive as far as influences and previous collaborations go. While the band is not lead by any of the members, it is quite clear that the most prominent one is Colin Stetson, who has previously worked with artists and bands such as Bon Iver, Tom Waits, Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre, as well as a string of solo records(releasing one this year as well). Joining him are drummer Greg Fox, who played with Liturgy, synth player Shahzad Ismail and guitarist Toby Summerfield. The first three have previously worked on Stetson's reworking of Henryk Goreki's 3rd Symphony. Thus, this album wasn't the first time these fellas stepped together in the recording studio.

I admit that I overstated in the headline, since calling this a metal album is a bit of a stretch as it is not just metal, and calling the musicians jazz musicians is also underestimating them. In fact, Ex Eye's debut is quite a menacing blend of jazz, black metal, post-metal, avant-garde, minimalism and noise in such a way that it sounds thoroughly cohesive and natural. The non-metal elements, whether the synth soundscapes or the post-ish guitars or the saxophone, add quite a lot to the metal ones, building a contrast that augments and expands the heavy sound chimeras when they come.

Probably the most dynamic of the instruments are the drums, portraying blistering blast beats as well as groovy rhythms and marching drums, which also manage to stay afloat even when in danger of being drowned by the wall of noise often created by the other instruments. Ex Eye combines melodic passages with crushing walls of sounds, with moments of textural silence, having plenty of time to arrange all the building blocks and develop the songs, considering that more than half of the album's tracks clock at more than ten minutes. While the album lacks any type of vocals, the listener may be tricked into thinking he hears screams or certain vocalizations, but they are all tricks down Stetson's saxophone's sleeve. It is amazing to hear the saxophone blend so seamlessly with metal sounds, something which is not as rare nowadays thankfully, seeing as the instrument has been coming back in style.

A veritable exercise in soundscape building, atmosphere, groove, aggression and the blend of all these. Thrilling album, huge sounds.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


 



Written on 08.01.2018 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 10   Visited by: 290 users
08.01.2018 - 18:12
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Good one, Yung Solja, very well written. Scoped this album briefly when first getting into the Roadburn lineup and really need to give it the full listen. I was pretty impressed with what I heard though, as you are. I'll probably check them out at the fest if they don't clash with anything else super mandatory like ROB, Boris, or that Oranssi/DBR set
----
This is the water, and this is the well
Drink full and descend
The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within
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08.01.2018 - 19:22
BloodTears
ANA-thema
This is a good album. Definitely recommend it
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Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.


My Instagram
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09.01.2018 - 02:20
Diverge
This is excellent and right up my alley- thanks for the rec!
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09.01.2018 - 11:59
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
Cool to see a review for this album. It's one of the few jazz/metal combinations that actually sounds like a competent jazz musician was behind the song writing (along with Merkabah).
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09.01.2018 - 20:20
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Alex F on 09.01.2018 at 11:59

Cool to see a review for this album. It's one of the few jazz/metal combinations that actually sounds like a competent jazz musician was behind the song writing (along with Merkabah).

I really gotta check Merkabah then
----
Professor Isak Borg: And the punishment?
The Examiner: I don't know. The usual, I suppose.
Professor Isak Borg: The usual?
The Examiner: Loneliness.
Professor Isak Borg: Loneliness?
The Examiner: Precisely.
Professor Isak: Is there no mercy?
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09.01.2018 - 20:23
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Apothecary on 08.01.2018 at 18:12

Good one, Yung Solja, very well written. Scoped this album briefly when first getting into the Roadburn lineup and really need to give it the full listen. I was pretty impressed with what I heard though, as you are. I'll probably check them out at the fest if they don't clash with anything else super mandatory like ROB, Boris, or that Oranssi/DBR set

Heard that they're live shows are pretty damn good too, but if it's something like Roadburn there's just so much stuff you don't wanna miss
----
Professor Isak Borg: And the punishment?
The Examiner: I don't know. The usual, I suppose.
Professor Isak Borg: The usual?
The Examiner: Loneliness.
Professor Isak Borg: Loneliness?
The Examiner: Precisely.
Professor Isak: Is there no mercy?
Loading...
10.01.2018 - 11:29
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
Written by RaduP on 09.01.2018 at 20:20

I really gotta check Merkabah then

Merkabah and Ex Eye have a few similarities, although Merkabah is far more experimental if you ask me. Both are great, but fairly different. I'd check out Moloch and Million Miles if ya wanna get into them.
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10.01.2018 - 12:24
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Alex F on 10.01.2018 at 11:29

Written by RaduP on 09.01.2018 at 20:20

I really gotta check Merkabah then

Merkabah and Ex Eye have a few similarities, although Merkabah is far more experimental if you ask me. Both are great, but fairly different. I'd check out Moloch and Million Miles if ya wanna get into them.

I did check their latest album last night and indeed it's pretty different than Ex Eye, but I still prefer Ex Eye
----
Professor Isak Borg: And the punishment?
The Examiner: I don't know. The usual, I suppose.
Professor Isak Borg: The usual?
The Examiner: Loneliness.
Professor Isak Borg: Loneliness?
The Examiner: Precisely.
Professor Isak: Is there no mercy?
Loading...
10.01.2018 - 12:36
Alex F
Slick Dick Rick
Written by RaduP on 10.01.2018 at 12:24

I did check their latest album last night and indeed it's pretty different than Ex Eye, but I still prefer Ex Eye

Fair enough, although I find Merkabah play more into my tastes (and Million Miles is undoubtedly my AOTY). One thing I think Ex Eye manage to a tad better is the "minimalism" side of things, like the phenomenal build up throughout the third track, which is seriously incredible. Your last statement in the review is definitely a good summation of the album.
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10.01.2018 - 12:41
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Alex F on 10.01.2018 at 12:36

Written by RaduP on 10.01.2018 at 12:24

I did check their latest album last night and indeed it's pretty different than Ex Eye, but I still prefer Ex Eye

Fair enough, although I find Merkabah play more into my tastes (and Million Miles is undoubtedly my AOTY). One thing I think Ex Eye manage to a tad better is the "minimalism" side of things, like the phenomenal build up throughout the third track, which is seriously incredible. Your last statement in the review is definitely a good summation of the album.

Yes, while Mekabah was really fun and engaging, I think Ex Eye are better at "building" the sound
----
Professor Isak Borg: And the punishment?
The Examiner: I don't know. The usual, I suppose.
Professor Isak Borg: The usual?
The Examiner: Loneliness.
Professor Isak Borg: Loneliness?
The Examiner: Precisely.
Professor Isak: Is there no mercy?
Loading...

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