Artist: Despite Exile
Album: Re-Evolve [EP]
What can you get done in twelve minutes? If your a chef–or just a Food Network enthusiast–you could probably cook up a quick meal (for the whole family!) If you’re a gamer, you could probably play a game or two (or three) of your favorite online shooter. However, if you’re progressive metalcore band Despite Exile, twelve minutes is more than enough time to craft a thoroughly immersive (if not slightly teasing) shred-laden lesson in brutality, as seen in their latest release, Re-Evolve.
Coming it at just under twelve minutes, Re-Evolve can’t afford to waste any time–and it doesn’t. Right from the beginning of “Oscillate” to the last second of “Mechanical,” Despite Exile create a fluid and rambunctious atmosphere which never stops, or even slows down to smell the flowers. Featuring dynamic, diverse vocal work ranging from shrieking highs, raspy inwards and bellowed lows, the release is far from vocally monotonous. Loaded with visceral, punchy drums and guitars which toggle from grinding to smooth at the blink of an eye, the EP is a musical juggernaut. Sprinkled with just enough djent-like tone to keep a steady groove, and packed with a hearty, meaty bass tone to provide down-trodden and beatdown feel to bring adequate heaviness, Re-Evolve is more than aptly equipped to keep the listener engaged while flip-flopping back and forth between melody and marring brutality.
Rather than compromise and spend the duration of the short-lived EP on just one sound or style, Despite Exile have instead opted to craft a diverse and dynamic release which spans the tip of the progressive, shreddy iceberg to the murky depths of an ocean of heaviness. Each song is a microcosmic environment which often times whips up a maelstrom of groovy, grinding chugging only to quell it with progressive, intriguing riff-work and dynamic harmony. “Perfection Neutralized,” the shortest track on Re-Evolve likely showcases this best. Toggling rapidly between heavy breakdowns, harmonic-ridden groove and uplifting, melodic harmonization, this brief track creates a deep and entrenching experience for the listener. The remainder of the EP follows suit, and incorporates expertly done heavy sections off-set by miniature moments of melodic rest to relieve the tension.
However, as you may have guessed, the length (or lack thereof) is Re-Evolve’s only tangible flaw. Where their debut release, Scarlet Reverie was aptly sized but moderately monotonous, Re-Evolve is a stellar collection of dynamic elements which just doesn’t seem to last quite long enough. While it is only twelve minutes long, Despite Exile have still managed to craft an EP which paints a deep, intricate painting of ideal metalcore, expertly balancing aggression, emotion, brutality and technicality–which simultaneously makes it both the longest and shortest twelve minutes of the listener’s life. While it’s easy to get lost in and hypnotized by, it still seems that the listener is snapped out of the dream-like experience a little too quickly, teased with an idyllic experience which has the potential to be nothing short of edenic.
So next time you’re cooking up a quick dinner for the family, or sitting down for a couple short rounds of Halo, do yourself a favor and fire up Despite Exile’s Re-Evolve. Not only do these Italian metallers go well with your favorite “anytime” pasta dish, or provide the best Alien-slaughtering soundtrack in the galaxy, they might just have you focusing more on their music than on the task at hand–an escape we can all use.
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism