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Exivious - Exivious CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.07 | 127 ratings

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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.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |


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