Florida has spawned many influential bands in its time. One of these many (and the greatest in this writer’s opinion) were Death/Fusion metal band, Cynic, who in turn spawned many bands of their own. Gordian Knot, Aghora, Portal, Aeon Spoke, OSI, and now the Dutch “Exivious”.
Exivious released their first official demo in 2001, being largely influenced by Cynic, in genre and in aesthetics, meaning Exivious also played jazzy Death Metal over a vocoder. Many years, a lineup change, another demo and much unreleased material after, Tymon is recruited into Cynic for their reunion tour and is asked to join the band in the creation of their second opus “Traced In Air”. Seemingly off the success and relative financial security from Traced In Air, Tymon gets his old crew from Exivious’ 2002 demo and gets to recording some new material.
Now, in 2009, that history is transformed into something very real, and now I hold in my hand copy 173 of the 1000 printed CDs making up Exivious’ “limited unique edition” of their debut album. All that’s left now is getting you to buy the CD. For those who trust my judgement and enjoy having some Jazz with their Metal, ignore the hefty price tag and order the album. Now. If, however you would prefer to make a more educated purchase, read on.
In a nutshell, Exivious play instrumental Fusion Metal (Or Fusionmetal as it is refered to on their site). They blend the polyrhythms, outside notes, improvisation and free nature of Jazz Fusion with the aggressive edge of Metal, essentially marrying the two in equal measures.
Guitarwork is courtesy of Tymon and Sengaia fret-magician Michel Nienhuis. The tone is generally slightly distorted with a synth-like voice. Every note cuts through the mix easily and there is no excess noise. The playing is highly technical and the sound is not unlike Allan Holdsworth playing Metal, with lots of notes from outside the scales, very free expression and a good sense of melody even with the eccentricities.
Robin Zielhorst (live bassist for Cynic’s Traced In Air tour) contributes the bass for this album. He is placed very high in the mix and most of his playing is independent of the guitar parts and equally as impressive in parts, adding extra depth to the pieces. He often takes centre stage for the compositions, especially in the two-part Smooth-Jazz sounding interlude, “All That Surrounds”, where his bass is the driving force.
Drums are played by Stef Broks of Textures, but perhaps “played” is not a strong enough word. Many bands nowadays have incredibly technical and impressive guitar playing, but few drummers in metal play with this much dexterity and intelligence (I’m not talking blast-beats-as-fast-as-you-can here). His skills are perhaps put on show the most in the final section of the very Fusion-like “Asurim”, where his playing impacts me every time I hear it.
Improvisation is a very important part of the music, and most of the guitar/bass leads and drums are made up on the spot. This fact makes the release even more impressive, as all of the tracks keep a flow and structure all the way through, showing the intense chemistry between the band members.
If you are still not convinced enough to buy this release, then go onto their website (link at the top of the page) and listen to the samples they have up. It is an incredible album which emanates class and skill. I would recommend this to any open-minded music fan, regardless of genre tastes and I hope it will shoot to an important place in your collection, and your heart as it has mine.
Origin: The Netherlands
Official site: http://www.exivious.net
Review online since: 20.05.2009 / 14:43:38
01 – Ripple Of A Tear