Having left Reign of the Architect, drummer Mauricio Bustamante created his new band Exxiles. It's a band with an international cast of players from a variety of prominent metal bands. Significant musicians include, but are not limited to, Mike Lepond (Symphony X), Zak Stevens (Circle II Circle, Savatage), and Chris Caffery (Trans- siberian Orchestra, Savatage). You can see more on Exxiles' Facebook Page. Musically, with Oblivion, the first album, Exxiles lands squarely in the progressive metal genre, with obvious notes of traditional melodic, heavy, and power metal, and these things wrapped up in some symphonic orchestration.
Simply stated, I was neither impressed nor entertained by this album. There were parts or moments, maybe a song or two, that appealed to me. But as a whole, I didn't find Oblivion all that enjoyable. Some of this feeling came right at the start. The first three songs, A Better Legacy, Hopelessness, and Anthem of Lies, sounded like a cacophonous and disjointed jumble of musical ideas, then filled with a bunch of awkward vocals. Those vocals were mostly in the range of gruff to 'don't give up your day job' because you can't sing. Fortunately, the following Page of the Night turns the corner on the vocals with somebody singing with a melodic voice. (For the record, no information was provided as to who was singing on each song.) Alternatively, the Dictator of Trust, has a vocalist who is harsh at the start and end, but melodic in the heart of a song largely built upon a wall of riffage and orchestration.
Curiously, or perhaps not, I found two songs quite enjoyable. The first was Llorona, a song based on an Hispanic legend, which features a female vocalists singing in Spanish over light guitars and orchestration. It's quite beautiful, the best piece here. The second song was Entropy, an instrumental number driven mostly by the large guitar line. An honorable mention goes to Awakening Part 1, a sweeping anthem with more symphonics powering a soaring vocal arrangement. And that's where I'm going to stop.
I guess it's possible, if I listened to the album several more times, my appreciation might become more favorable. Perhaps not. My opinion, however, does not take away from Bustamante and company's significant efforts and accomplishment, and I'm sure others will find the album more interesting than I did.
Drummer Mauricio Bustamante created Exxiles and offers the first album Oblivion, mostly progressive heavy metal with symphonic parts, a mixture of vocals, and a jumble of musical ideas.
When he's not playing with his main gig Symphony X, or appearing as a guest on one in ten heavy metal albums each year, the ubiquitous and skilled bass player Mike LePond returns to his on seminal project ... [ Read More ]