From Exile – Monolith

It’s really rather rare to come across a progressive metal band with as much technical prowess and as much of a thirst for diversity, at such an early stage in their career, as From Exile. The band’s second album, the aptly-titled Monolith, is something of an all-encompassing voyage of heavy metal, and anyone with a keen interest in any form of the genre will find something to treasure.




From the moment the atmospheric intro of opener Arrival erupts into a glorious hybrid of uplifting power metal and mind-consuming prog, it is immediately obvious that the band, hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, is onto a winner. Perhaps the thing that stands out with regard to the band’s use of these styles of metal, however, is how they manage to make the styles sound relevant and fresh, a remarkable feat considering the rather over-the-top, dated nature of most straight-up prog. From Exile are so much more than merely progressive, however, and the band’s potential to become a force in metal in years to come is further emphasised by the magnificent tech-metal behemoth Exhumed, a truly great track with irresistibly brutal riffs and time signature changes that the likes of Dream Theater would certainly be proud of. Further evidence of the band’s willingness to encompass a variety of styles is found on Apparition, a haunting, ominous piece of music permeated by a chilling, soulful riff, as well as The Unlearning Dissent, an anthemic interlude reminiscent of Arch Enemy’s best work.

One particular aspect of Monolith that really stands out is the proficiency with which guitar solos are implemented. This is the area where the hub of From Exile’s emotion lies; the solos found on the likes of Impure Visionary and Veritas are played with such raw vigour and intensity that makes for spellbinding listening. Daath guitarist Emil Werstler features on the album, and based on this brilliant soloing, his presence is most certainly effective. The excellent bursts of lead guitar continue through to the final two tracks, Monolith and In The Faded Silence, which is perhaps the period where Monolith fully comes into its own. The latter is an awesome climax to the album which is essentially a summation of many elements from the previous seven tracks, while the former is a seven-minute prog opus with extremely powerful, pulsating melodies. Notably, the band hail from the same city as Mastodon, and certainly in terms of vocals there are similarities. The production of the vocals may be slightly suspect, but the monstrous roaring reminiscent of Troy Sanders adds another larger-than-life dimension to the already elaborate music on display.

Any progressive metal album with as much intricacy and vision as Monolith would rightly be deemed an impressive piece of work. However, when other factors regarding this record are considered, this has to be lauded as a fantastic achievement on the part of From Exile. For instance, this is only the band’s second full-length release, and if the standard of Monolith is maintained on future releases, there is little doubt that From Exile could evolve into a truly great band. What’s more admirable, however, is the fact that there are only two resident members of the band. Of course, there are others who have contributed to Monolith, but the fact that Eric Guenther and Ben Wetzelberger have created such an epic, complex piece of work has to be applauded. Monolith is an impressive display from a band with the potential to grow into something tremendous.

Official Website – http://fromexile.com/

     

About JJPorter

JJ is a 20-year-old student hailing from Scotland, who lives and breathes music. His favourite genres include a variety of styles of metal, as well as hardcore, punk, and just about everything in between. Contact JJPorter on Twitter or via Email.

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