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EXIVIOUS

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Netherlands


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Exivious biography
Formed in 1997 around guitarist/vocalist Tymon Kruidenier, Exivious originally consisted of Tymon, guitarist Jan Henningheim and drummer Iwan Hendrikx (formerly of Epica). With the use of programmed basslines, they recorded a two song demo in 2001, on which their jazz-metal style sound was extremely reminiscent of Florida genre pioneers Cynic (right down to the use of processed vocals). Though the demo showed a good deal of progress and Sun Caged bassist Rob Van Der Loo passed through their lineup, Exivious was eventually put on hold.

In 2006, Tymon announced to have assembled a new lineup featuring Textures drummer Stef Broks, Emerald bassist Robin Zielhorst and keyboard player Frans Verburg. A new release in a somewhat different and more unique style of technical metal was expected.

In May 2010, about a year after the release of the Exivious album, Tymon announced on the band web site that Exivious was disbanded. However, mid December of the same year, it was announced on the Cynic web site that Robin and Tymon had decided to leave Cynic and start working on a new Exivious album...



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See also:

- Cynic
- Textures

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Season of Mist 2013
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EXIVIOUS discography


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EXIVIOUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 110 ratings
Exivious
2009
3.99 | 41 ratings
Liminal
2013

EXIVIOUS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

EXIVIOUS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

EXIVIOUS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

EXIVIOUS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.04 | 9 ratings
Exivious
2001

EXIVIOUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Liminal by EXIVIOUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.99 | 41 ratings

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Liminal
Exivious Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Progrussia

4 stars Metallic fusion with post-rock touches. The heaviness comes rather not from the tone of the guitars but density of sound and business of the rhythm section, that I think impresses nor less or even more than guitars. Those who think that instrumental metal music is about speed and emotionless showboating (or boring) would be pleasantly surprised. Its not easy listening or overly melodic by any means, but the band actually creates some coherent soundscapes using repeated musical motifs from mysterious to more excitable. Compositions are a mix between droning and some sweet soloing - sax included!, - although sometimes I wish they'd cut down on the droning or song lengths.

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 Liminal by EXIVIOUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.99 | 41 ratings

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Liminal
Exivious Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Liminal" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Dutch progressive/fusion metal act Exivious. The album was released through Season of Mist in November 2013. The bandīs 2009 self-titled debut album was a self-released affair limited to 1000 copies. A great album that one and hopefully the deal with Season of Mist will bring the bandīs music to a wider audience. Exivious have existed since 1997 but went into a hiatus after releasing a couple of demos. They reunited in 2006, but it wasnīt until guitarist (and former vocalist) Tymon Kruidenier joined Cynic for the recording of their 2008 comeback album "Traced in Air", that most people heard about Exivious (bassist Robin Zielhorst is also credited for playing live with Cynic). The rest of the lineup consist of Yuma van Eekelen (ex-Pestilence) on drums (who replaces Stef Broks, who performed in the debut album) and Michel Nienhuis on guitars.

The music on "Liminal" continues down a similar instrumental progressive/fusion metal path to the path the band also tread on the debut album. To my ears the songwriting has improved and the music as a result sound more well thought out and mature. The album as a whole also features a great flow. The tracks are generally very dynamic in nature, featuring both flashy fusion metal sections with blistering jazz scale guitar solos, but also more atmospheric and mellow parts. The greatest asset is how well Exivious work as a unit though. All instruments are qually important in the soundscape and there is an attention to detail thatīs intriguing. These guys really understand that flashy playing usually becomes old fast when itīs not paired with well written compositions. And the compositions on "Liminal" are exquisite. Very tasteful yet powerful, melodic and challenging. The addition of saxophone on "Deeply Woven" is just another well tasting spice for the stew, but itīs actually hard to single out highlights as all material on the album are equally strong. I guess the atmospheric "Alphaform" deserves a special mention, but otherwise this is an album that deserves to be listened to as a whole.

To go along with the well written music, the listener is also treated to an incredibly well sounding production, which really brings out the little intriguing details in the music. The sound production may be clear and powerful, but itīs also organic sounding, which is yet another asset to my ears.

"Liminal" is through and through a brilliant release. The musicianship are on a high level (these guys sound at ease with playing the technically challenging sections. Everything just sound very natural and never forced), The sound production is very strong and the songwriting intriguing and powerful. There is nothing in this world that can hold me back from giving "Liminal" a deserved 4.5 star (90%) rating. An absolutely brilliant release this one.

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 Liminal by EXIVIOUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.99 | 41 ratings

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Liminal
Exivious Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

5 stars It's incredible to think what a band can do when not faced with the pretense of filling a genre requirement, a label's wish, or some other setback that can detract from the quality of the music. When a band has the freedom to do as the band wishes without a care for whether the album will make the Billboard list or whether the album will get the band signed by a particular label, the composers can focus on what music makes them happiest and the most satisfied. In many ways, this is the origin of experimentation. Bands take ideas that they like and mashing them with various styles, influences, and sounds. Genres such as Rock in Opposition, krautrock, progressive metal, and other "fusions" of different genres have brought music forward and expanded the listening pallet of the music world. One of these progressions was the evolution of jazz metal. Jazz and metal, two genres most people were diametrically opposites, were fused first by bands such as Cynic, Atheist, and even Death.

In many ways, however, these early jazz metal bands simply took jazz syncopation and the odd 7th, 9th, or 11th chord to add to their compositions which were still very plainly metal, and in many cases death metal. Over time, however, the jazz become more defined, refined, and distinguished in the music. Modern bands such as Panzerballett, Planet X, The Gordian Knot, and Exivious took the jazz sound and slowly filtered in metal elements to a simply gorgeous result. The band Exivious, however, had a unique spin, as they took the fast paced, energetic scale-running sound of Cynic and fused with a clean, refined jazz fusion sound a-la Pat Metheny or even Weather Report. Their self-titled 2009 debut hit the scene with massive force, sending ripples throughout the progressive metal community who immediately begged for more.

It took the band three years to respond, this time with a request for their fans. The band's follow up album would be crowdfunded, putting the new Exivious album in the hands of their fans, hoping that the fans had enough faith in the band to push funding for recording. In a matter of days their goal was reached, and the band's second album, Liminal, was set to be recorded.

Tymon Kruidenier, the lead guitarist, had a single goal for this album: to make the most organic, pure-sounding Exivious album he possibly could. Every sound, instrument, and atmosphere on the album was to be organically produced from a real instrument without a single synth or computer involved, and the entire recording process was to be done live with real amps, mics, and set ups. No PODs, Pro Tools fiddling, or triggered drumming at all were to be seen on the album. In the end, 2013 saw the release of the band's follow up, and all of what Tymon promised was true - Liminal was the band's best offering yet, and is perhaps the most organic sounding metal album I have ever heard.

Of course, calling Exivious a metal band is a bit of a misnomer. The band is really a fusion band with metal elements, and Liminal shows this time and time again. Gorgeously crafted riffs revolve around delicately arranged jazz chords, any chugging that occurs is really only an accent to some form of jazzy arrangement, arpeggio, or solo, and if a drum line ever started to sound "heavy," it was only to develop a crescendo which would eventually break into some gorgeous arrangement of guitar melody. Songs like "Deeply Woven," "Movement," and "One's Glow" show the band's impressive grasp on this dynamic.

If you do need a snapshot of the power of Exivious' compositional ability, look no further than "Deeply Woven." If you'll allow me the excess, for this entire paragraph I will rant about how much I adore this song. This song was one of the singles the band released with the album, along with their more atmospheric "Movement," and I was absolutely hooked when I heard this song. Without sounding awkward, forced, or unnatural, the band effortlessly weaves from delicate arpeggio work to punching riffs to soaring solos and back. While the guitars do absolutely beautiful work here, one of the best treats about this song is the use of saxophone. Exivious can sometimes come off as cold due to their very strong use of meticulously placed guitar lines, but the flawless saxophone part in this song adds a dimension that is rarely heard in this breed of music. The compositional grace, instrumental alacrity, and emotional power evoked by the passionately played wind are impressive. The band, when faced with this new element of their sound, immediately transform into a powerful rhythm section for a jazz combo and fill the saxophone part with a dense chord structure and syncopative rhythm. I admit, even as a stalwart advocate for full- album listening, that I left this song on repeat for a long, long time.

The rest of the album, however, shows no lack of compositional ability, instrumental power, or emotional content. While the boys of Exivious are not in this business to produce tear- jerkers or ballads, a number of times the unadulterated passion in which they treat their music can produce some powerful emotions. And even still, songs such as "Deeply Woven" and the delicate atmospheric piece "Movement" can add an almost sensitive side to this music. At times, the compositions might seem mechanical due to the scale-running, fast chord changes, and machine-like drumming accuracy of Yuma van Eekelen, but there are numerous points on the album when the band stops, takes a breath, and enjoys the feeling of playing music, not just the theory of how to structure chords. Creating atmospheres naturally, weaving soundscapes with melody, and evoking a sense of pride for their music number just a few of the skills these musicians have.

I admit, as a backer of the album from the beginning over a year ago, perhaps I had a vested interest in enjoying this album. But I can guarantee, if you enjoy jazz fusion, a good musicianship, and a little bit of metal, you will fall in love with this album. The production quality of the album is supreme ? the listener feels as though they are right there with the band. Backers received an HD FLAC version of the recordings (an impressive one gigabyte for a single album), and on a high fidelity sound system this only enhanced this experience. The atmosphere the band weaves with their instrumentation brings on an adventure with sound ? their music can bring you places if you let it absorb you. You can tell these musicians absolutely love what they do and they put their entire heart and soul into their music and just by listening, you can feel the passion. This album is easily my favorite of 2013, and I hope it becomes yours. 5 stars.

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 Liminal by EXIVIOUS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.99 | 41 ratings

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Liminal
Exivious Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

3 stars From the recommendation of several contributors at progarchives, I decided to listen to this new album from the Exivious. This Netherlands-based outfit are definitely hard to peg in terms of genre. Their style is heavy, but not in the way of normal tech metal or progressive metal bands. There isn't much in the way of riffing or pretentious, cheesy cliches. Exivious are completely different, really.

Their new album, "Liminal", is an instrumental affair that is always interesting and spell- binding. Indeed, I think that is the most impressive aspect here: The music grabs holds and doesn't let go. Exivious builds a wonderful wall of sound using finger-splitting guitar work, offbeat drumming with amazing fills, and incredible bass work. One of the things you will notice right away is the fact that Exivious is VERY comfortable with VERY odd time signatures. The first track, "Entrust", is an easy example of this, as the song never quite feels "right" the first time through, but then your mind will grasp the beat in all of its intangible glory in subsequent listens. In the end, the composition is genius and absolutely mind-boggling to perform.

The album never really stops, though. "One's Glow" and "Alphaform" continue the incredible composition, though I feel that they are slightly more accessible. Track after track full of instrumental fireworks passes by, and the listener is blown away time and again by the fullness of the sound and the ease with which the band establishes an odd groove. This band has a penchant for creating groovy atmospheres that blow right over your head, but then come back and smack you in the spine with their genius.

All of that, however, is also the problem with this album. The band never STOPS. There is a total lack of soul and emotion to the music, and so it comes out feeling machine-like and frigid. There isn't any meaning to the music, and there isn't much (if any) melody, either. If that's okay with you, then listen, by all means. However, I end up feeling nothing from this album, except for maybe befuddlement. It's a great album through and through, but I look to get more from an album then just technical wonder. It all comes down to what you want, and this album doesn't fit the bill for me personally.

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 Exivious by EXIVIOUS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.08 | 110 ratings

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Exivious
Exivious Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Fusion metal pinnacle

Sub-genre: Tech/Extreme Metal (could very easily fall into JR/F)
For Fans of: Canvas Solaris, Allan Holdsworth, Return to Forever, Gordian Knot
Vocal Style: None
Guitar Style: Varied electric. Metal distortion but little in the way of "chugging". Use of swells for texture and plenty of clean tone.
Keyboard Style: None that I am aware of.
Percussion Style: Rock kit, occasional metal double-bass sound, never overbearing.
Bass Style: Very tasty, warm fretless electric bass.
Other Instruments: None
You are not likely to enjoy this album if: you insist on vocals or are a genre purist of any sort.



Summary: The roots of Exivious are well documented. It is those roots that draw people to want to hear their self-titled debut album. But there is more ? or perhaps less depending on context - to the band than what is implied by their roots. First and foremost is the fact that this is a 100% homegrown, do-it-yourself, self funded project. As we are well into the age that this is not only possible, but becoming the norm, we tend to find a lot of boiler plate production value that seems to limit the creative process. This is not the case with Exivious. While it is not hard to pick out derivative elements in this album, the presentation is wholly their own and finds a healthy niche in a genre that is now flooded with hybridization.
The most simplistic description of style/genre would be fusion metal. I refrain from using the J word for fear of a purist attack, but jazz elements resound throughout the compositional structures, chord modulations and use of broad dynamics and textures. An instant injection of warmth of tone is provided by the use of fretless bass. The guitars, while unmistakably distorted at most times, are never content to ride power chords. Instead frequent tonal variations, key modulations and string ensemble-like volume swells provide a strong sense of contrast throughout the album. The use of these tools leaves the project not wonting of vocals. Exivious allows the music to tell the story completely. They use a seemingly simple device in a two-part intermission type song, "All That Surrounds", which ties the albums segments together and provides the cohesiveness of story. The first part gives a calming false resolution major chord sound that is unraveled by the more urgent "Waves of Thought" and "The Path", finally leaving the listener on an ethereal precipice with the minor and whole-tonal "All That surrounds, pt.2". The album again resolves with the upbeat "An Elusive Need". The album rounds out at forty four and a half minutes, a short album by today's standards, but containing not a moment of filler that permeates 21st century recordings. The sense of completeness as the album fades is to often missing in the majority of music in the last 20 years.



Final Score: I spent a good 18 months listening to this album trying to figure out if it was really the masterpiece I thought it was from the first listen. In fact, I am drawn more to this album as time passes. It has the perfect balance leaving the listener simultaneously sated, yet wanting more. I am confident that the majority of prog fans, given an undistracted listen, would demand this as a part of their collection. No element completely dominates or submits. Tasteful and artistic. 5 stars.

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 Exivious by EXIVIOUS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.08 | 110 ratings

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Exivious
Exivious Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 really

Exivious from Holland is considered one of the top jazz fusion metal bands in last years. Formed almost 15 yers ago they mange to release only one stidio album so far in 2009, never counting the demos. Well what we have here is a combination of jazz fusion at played higher speed with prog metal leanings, usualy on this type of music is vice versa. The album is dominated by furious but yet very organized and tight guitar parts, drums aswell, is understandable because all musicians involved here are well known and handle the instruments very well. Two members from Cynic, the guitarist and bass player, the drumer from Textures and is clear in what direction the music is, very similar with Cynic, Gordian Knot, even with dutch Anomaly or Spiral Architect. Quite technical to extrmes, where the pieces flows very well one to other from more up tempo to mellower parts. Personaly I like this type of music, in this case is no diffrent but I can't consider this one a masterpiece, for instance I like more Gordian Knot, Anomaly (Holland) or Spiral Architect. The problem is here I think is that the passahes and arrangements don't contain some melodic lines, all album is based on technical manuvres, very technical btw. and is slightly not very diverse in compositions. All That Surrounds: Part 1and part 2 are more spacey and mellow but the rest is on 100 miles/h specially the guitar and drums. Not band but nothing really special aither for me at least. Anyway a good album that desearves 3 star, 3.5 stars for the first two pieces Ripple of a Tear and Time And Its Changes who are the best , the rest are ok with a minus on Asurim the worst tune of this record. Fans of thegenre can take some spins, worth it but is quite far from masterpiece status as many pretend to be.

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 Exivious by EXIVIOUS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.08 | 110 ratings

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Exivious
Exivious Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Exivious" is the debut full-length studio album by Dutch progressive jazz/fusion metal act Exivious. The album, which is limited to 1000 hand-numbered copies, was self-released in May 2009. Each copy features a unique mini-poster.

Exivious are probably best known for featuring former Cynic members Tymon Kruidenier and Robin Zielhorst, but the band go back as far as 1997 and have released three demos before the release of this debut album. They started out as, what I would characterize, a Cynic clone, but soon dropped the growling vocals and became a fully instrumental unit.

While the music features metal elements like double bass drums and some relatively hard edged power chord riffing, the music style is at itÂīs core jazz/fusion based. To my ears this is jazz/fusion first and progressive metal second. The musicianship is outstanding on the album and even though this is a self-released album, the band have managed to produce an album with a good professional sound quality. The tracks are complex, featuring multible sections and changes in dynamics, a fusion based rythm section and some really well played guitar solos and themes.

"Exivious" is actually quite the impressive release by the Dutch, and if you enjoy jazz/fusion with a metal edge, this is definitely a recommendable purchase. A 4 star (80%) rating is warranted.

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 Exivious by EXIVIOUS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.08 | 110 ratings

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Exivious
Exivious Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Exivious' - Exivious (9/10)

As the genre of metal has virtually reached its creative peak, attempts have been made to crossover this relatively extreme sound in music with many other genres, most notably being classical music, and jazz. As one could guess, many of these attempts to transform the sound of heavy metal into something else fall through and only come out half-baked, perhaps showing potential, but often fail to do anything that has not already been done before. Exivious' full-length debut comes at a stage where jazz-metal fusion has already been up and running for almost twenty years, and some could argue that it was perfected shortly afterwards. Regardless, there are few acts I have heard that incorporate the two styles as fairly together as does Exivious, and along with a better performance than I could have hoped for in an album like this, 'Exivious' is one of the best instrumental metal albums I have ever heard.

When describing the sound and music of this band, it is very useful to point out that the guitarist and lead man of this project Tymon Kruidenier is a member of the legendary progressive death metal act Cynic, helping to make one of my favourite albums 'Traced In Air' as incredible as it was. For anyone who has heard that album, the same style of melodic, yet highly technical riffs translates well onto an even jazzier template. The music here is completely instrumental, and for the style that Exivious are playing, that is a good thing; having vocals to work into this music would have been a confusing and distracting move. Instead of the progressive death metal that Cynic played, think of something quite a bit more mellow, yet retaining every bit of technicality. As opposed to a metal album with hints of jazz as I was expecting, Exivious finds themselves dead in-between the two genres. The music is constantly shifting gears and dynamics, light on recurring ideas but heavy on complexity and dynamic flow. Think of Pat Metheny at his most complex, amp up the heaviness, and you begin to get an idea of what Exivious is about.

One thing that could be complained about here is the apparent lack of melody in the music, and while there is certainly nothing here that a listener will find themselves humming along to, there is more than enough here that keeps a listener engaged and interested in what the band is doing. Although there is a definite focus on keeping things technically impressive, Exivious plays their material with a surprising amount of feeling, thanks in no small part to the sort of freedom that the jazz style gives its musicians. On top of the main course, there are respites from the technical jazz metal, sometimes taking the form of mellow sections within songs, but most notably being the pair of interlude tracks called 'All That Surrounds', which each form a masterful ambiance using laid-back tapping easily reminiscent of Animals As Leaders. These comprise the most accessible slice of what Exivious is about, and the rest of the album takes quite a bit more time to really become involved with. At first, 'Exivious' is an album that while a technical marvel, seems to meander around and scarcely leave the starting grid. My first impression with the music was certainly wrong though, and while the music of this band may only appeal to those who are able to appreciate both metal and jazz, it stands as being one of the most enduring masterpieces of the metal fusion genre, and I can only hope that they do not stop with their debut.

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 Exivious by EXIVIOUS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.08 | 110 ratings

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Exivious
Exivious Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Exivious is a "Fusion Metal" instrumental band formed by members of both legendary death metal band Cynic and prog metal band Textures. It seems that they are currently on hiatus, and so far the only album they put together is this self titled debut. I saw all the infinite praises they gave to this album, but I have to admit that I'm disappointed by it.

One thing no one can deny, by listening to this album, how excellently prepared these musicians are; especially the rhythm section, with jazz influenced drummer Stef Broks, the virtuos bass player Robin Zeilhorst, with his amazing fretless bass that enriches the music, a style that is obviously inspired by legend Jaco Pastorius. The guitars are also phenomenal, thanks to Cynic guitarist Tymon Kruidenier, with also Michel Nienhuis from Sengaia; thanks to them the riffs are extremely complex and technical, and when they play the slower parts they have a much jazzier touch.

Since this features members that all come from prog metal bands, the main style of the album is of course this genre, but what makes it really original is the surprisingly massive fusion and math metal influences. The rhythms are very fast and esoteric, the melodies very challenging to listen to, because of the guitars, and even the bass at times. The production is clean, the mixing is perfect, so what is wrong with this debut? First of all, I noticed that this album has a weak structure: It sounds a lot like a cluster of songs that frankly have all a similar structure, and they kind of sound all the same, so I'm not really understanding the philosophy of this organization. The only thing that makes the album a little more solid is the presence of the two parts of "All That Surrounds", and both parts are very similar even melodically. Also, some songs turn me off, just for the fact that they aren't at all memorable or hardly have any emotion or attitude, and so I forgot about them pretty quickly. It sound just like a few musicians just jamming for 44 minutes, with most definitely some very good ideas that come along. I don't deny that many parts are mind blowing, like the entire opener "Ripple Of A Tear", or even the next track, "Time And It's Changes", but other songs just aren't as good, said in a much more simple way. Another one of my favorites is the closing piece "An Elusive Need", with just great musicianship, especially from the guitars.

An album that I partially enjoyed, but didn't light my day in a particular way. "Exivious" is most definitely an ambitious project, but they really should try to put a little more feeling to the songs (please keep in mind that I'm a huge prog metal fan, and that I don't mind technical virtuosity at all, if used correctly). If you're a big fan of this genre, you should check this out, but don't expect too much from it.

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 Exivious by EXIVIOUS album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.08 | 110 ratings

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Exivious
Exivious Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

5 stars A dozen or more listens, and I've yet to crack the code.

Being infatuated with Traced in Air really made getting Exivious a rather routine sounding decision. However, I was not really properly prepared for the incredible fusion of jazz and metal that Traced in Air could not have even dreamed of achieving. Exivious, the fusion of former members of Cynic as well as former members of the Dutch band Textures, is an alarmingly talented group of individuals. With both a strong Cynic flavour as well as a stronger jazz flavor, Exivious provides a savory blend of complexity and downright beauty with a metallic zest. While many jazz metal bands can pride themselves on unispired but undeniable jazzy keyboard and bass lines, Exivious can easily rise above the pack with their incredible harmonies, soloing, and overall musicianship of the music.

Ripple of a Tear breaks open with a jazzy bass line, but not your run of the mill jazzy bass line. This is a top notch kick-you-in-the-balls epic bass lines fit for Scott LaFaro of the classic Bill Evans Trio (he could rip out quite a bass line). The song takes the listener on a sonic journey of sweeping licks and incredible and dynamic sections, with a truly sublime fretless bass solo (a fretless is an staple for every bassist). Overall, the track provides the essential and the perfect, making for an overall stupendous opener.

Time and it's Changes, aptly named for the copious amounts of time signature changes present in the track, is another stupendous and jazzy track, again with a prominent bass line. This track, with much stronger emphasis on the atmosphere and ambiance of the backing track, has a much chiller, but at the same time a faster tempo and more free flowing, feel to it. Overall, this provides yet another near perfect jazz metal track.

Asurim, with even more odd time signatures than the last track, is one of the more "metal" tracks of the album. With just slightly less pure "jazz" and bass solos, the band rips out their true riffing power. With some really great riffs backing the supreme soloing going on, the band really goes crazy on this song.

All That Surrounds, the ~7 minute "epic" of the album, is broken into two sections. Part 1 is a very mellow and somber piece that slowly builds into a serenade of beautiful bass solos and guitar backings. The track is truly beautiful, employing some interesting tapping techniques. Overall, the track is one of the more mellow tracks on the album, and a great dynamic for the album.

Waves of Thought sharply contrasts the previous track with darting licks and quick on off riffing and soling attacks. The song tapers off into a more melodic feel near the end, with some fantastic solos from both all three stringsmen.

The Path is a more atmospheric, but still very incredible and jazzy, track. It has a very slow and ambient intro, but has no hesitation of switching very quickly back and forth between melodic and metallic and jazzy and awesome!

Part 2 of All That Surrounds continues that very somber ambient feel of the first part. This time, they insinuate more free flowing guitar licks and bass solos, making for an even cooler track than the first part. Overall, the suite really cools down the album, bringing it out of the sixth gear, and makes the album even more dynamic and beautiful than it was already.

Embrace the Unknown finally brings on the quintessential Cynic member - guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal, to one of my favorite tracks on the album. The song breaks out with a fantastic bass solo, and quickly breaks into another, jazzier, ...um... "solo" of some synthesizer/guitar sounding thing. The track has a very Cynic-y feel, which is understandable, and very much welcome for this Cynic lover. The riffing has that up-down feel typical to Masvidal, and I love it! The whole track is teeming with dynamic after dynamic, filling the track up with great sounds and textures. Overall, this track is easily my favorite of the album and a must for any Cynic fan.

An Elusive Need, the closer to this stupendous album, has a slower and more laid back feel to it, as well as having a quick and ready guitar lick fronting it. The track is a very jovial sounding track, with quick and upbeat rhythms and an overall very upbeat feel to the song. It ends the album with a great smile of satisfaction on my face, making this one of my most recent favorite albums.

ALBUM OVERALL: Jazz metal always seems to have a special place in the sonic spectrum that radiates from speakers, at least for my ears. As soon as I hear a rhythmic polyrhythm of jazzy bas solo, whether it's played well or not, the album seems to be elevated at least a little bit. In the case of Exivious, the album is elevated a hell of a lot. With a great bassist, most bands can do pretty much anything, especially if the bass is prominent, and this band certainly utilizes theirs. Every track has a supremly funky feel to it, with strong melodic and rhythmic structures backing it. Overall, the album is easily the best jazz metal album I've heard. However, the album still has those stereotypical jazz metal tendencies that ring a little bit similar to Cynic or Planet X that defects the originality of the music only by the slightest bit. However, it is still a supremely bitchin' album! 5- stars.

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