"Ride Forth"

By Professor Jocko

Among the countless metal bands out there today, it becomes increasingly difficult to decide on what to spend your hard-earned cash on, hoping to find something where you may like more than just a few tracks. In the world of heavy metal, you may find yourself looking for something that is truly original, that hasn’t been recycled from all of the other bands trying to maintain a loyal fan base. That may not be the case here, but one of the elements that Exmortus has definitely been successful at is combining thrash metal with a classical music flair which flows together, producing some intricate musical feats.  

This California-based quartet, now on their forth studio album, have been able to perfect their detailed musical staple with many combined influences, as notably heard with singer/guitarist Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez’ searing death metal growl and the intricate melodic guitar riffs of David Rivera. This energetic style carries throughout the entire album, which although becomes slightly redundant throughout the later tracks because of the lack of diversity, both with tempo and range, does sustain a bombastic level of electricity. However, one of the more notable songs in my opinion, has no lyrics at all; the third movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 23, titled “Appasionata“. Naturally, the guitars in this particular number are the more exciting feature, led by twin neo-classical guitar wizardry. However, Mike Cosio’s bass guitar is an energetic compliment, almost as if the two are dueling for supremacy as the song comes to a triumphant climax.

I can certainly say that each song has its individual moments, where you are taken to a pinnacle of an energetic level, as seen with tracks such as “Hymn of Hate,” “Black Sails,” and “Fire and Ice”, but as a combined unit seem a little tiresome towards the end. This may be in part with the drums, which although do the job of keeping a tight rhythm, don’t really allow the song to breathe, trying to reinforce an already busy guitar section and monotonous vocal patterns. Further tracks like “For The Horde” and “Let Us Roam” are a caustic thrash assault, which remind me of a slightly different version of Skeletonwitch, or 3 Inches of Blood, perhaps, but with chromatic scales and twin solos; kind of like Helloween meets Yngwie Malmsteen with a death metal vocalist. However, let me say that the album level is very well-produced, which serves the inner metal freak in all of us when played at a high volume.