French band Existance makes no apologies. The band was formed to keep the spirit and sound of Eighties heavy metal alive, and these four youngsters weren't even born yet. I'll bet their fathers are missing more than a few albums from the record collections. Actually vocalist and guitarist Julian Izard is the son of Didier Izard, the vocalist of the relatively obscure French speed metal band, H–Bomb, from the earlier Eighties.
After one demo, a first self-titled full-length album on High Roller Records in 2012, the band releases their second album, Steel Alive, now with Mausoleum Records. It's not diminishing or belittling to the band or the album to say that this is a throwback to an earlier time. But classic NWoBHM influenced heavy metal never goes out of style, especially when it's done well. And Existance has the chops to do so, whether through heredity or listening to every Iron Maiden album ten times over.
Existance works the traditional elements of the genre as if they were there, back in the day, or simply channeling the spirt of their heavy metal heroes to the present. They take twin guitars and marry them to an efficient and steady rhythm section, push the pace from moderation to speedy, add melodic vocal arrangements, toss in some rippin' leads, and then wrap it all up in some groove. It's a tasty audio mix, making you want to don your faded demin vest jacket, pump your fist, and do windmills, if you still have the hair, while listening. Frankly, Existance plays classic heavy metal like veterans, showing maturity in song composition and musicianship beyond their years. To this end, some rather impressive tracks include Prisoner, Get Away, Steel Alive, Legends Never Die, and From Hell, all of which develop those aforementioned characteristics. Finally, of note here is the strength of the bass line in most every song, thanks to Tom Drouin's playing, but likely also to the person who made the mix right. A good example is within the song Close to the End. For classic heavy metal for the modern era Existance's Steel Alive is the real deal, square on target and sounding terrific. But next time they should invest in some better album art. Easily recommended.
For classic heavy metal for the modern era Existance's Steel Alive is the real deal, square on target and sounding terrific. Easily recommended.
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