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Exivious - Exivious CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.07 | 127 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired 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, "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.

Andy Webb | 5/5 |


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