The music of Exist Immortal has a hypnotic effect on me. It has done since I heard their Dream Sequence EP and the sensation continues unabated while listening to their first full length Darkness of an Age. Right from the start this London Quintet assail the senses with their blend of plaintively emotional vocal lines and powerful djent infused rhythms.
The passion and commitment to their music is plain to hear within each of the 10 tracks here on display. They leave no strain of emotion untapped as they weave their tales of sorrow and possibility around your ears. Under that emotion each track is grounded with pulsating, poly-rhythmic grooves; very much in the latent British mould.
Like a blend of Marillion and No Consequence, there is a naturally effortless air to their song-writing, which makes for fascinating listening. With tunes that can simultaneously pummel you into submission, prior to making you well up with emotion; they have constructed an astute and emotionally direct record.
A stealthy use of dynamics leads you down one aural path only for them to switch musical tack, smuggling you to a place you could never have conceived of, at the start of the song. It’s like having your ears kidnapped, only to receive the ransom note in the form of a love poem….from the ex-lover who broke your heart!
Lead vocalist, Meyrick de la Fuente's voice soars with a stirring avian grace over an intriguing musical topology. With a subtle yet distinct 80's angle of phrase, his style and melodic facility immediately separate Exist Immortal from a lot of bands in the burgeoning UK Tech-Metal scene. His clean vocals work in genuine and distinct harmonic counterpoint to his fried roar, which although fairly monotone, serve its purpose with a stoic belligerence.
There is a great deal of undulating riffage to be savoured on Darkness, becoming all the more enjoyable when they allow the more melodic edges to become visible. During these moments the guitars pulse with a febrile insistence. When they succeed in this regard, the rhythms and melodies become utterly cohesive; bolstered with big chested vocals and subtle keyboard pads to build that rarest of metal emotions: a brutal, beautiful melancholy.
Although this record is never blisteringly fast, Exist Immortal are skilled exponents at controlling momentum and weight within their music. Using the energy generated to catapult their melodies through multiple poly-rhythmic shifts, that has a palpable effect on the listener.
This one of the qualities which I love about Tech-Metal in a live setting, which quite often fails to materialise on record. It is most refreshing to hear a band that has captured that compulsive, sinuous groove.
Overall, the cumulative effect of their qualities is a very positive one. However my one criticism would be that Darkness of an Age is perhaps a little one paced.
For me this adds to the somnambulant, hypnotism of the music, allowing you to be drawn; body and soul into the purpose-domination of the band. Sadly, for me at least, this is not always to everyone's taste. But give this album a car stereo, some expansive vistas and a road trip and see it worm its way into your subconscious.
– John Whitmore.