Presenting Exoterra! You may have run into this Salt Lake City four-piece in recent history as they’ve been making the rounds with the intensity of their first single “Thermia”. This came notably strapped with amazing science fiction visuals in their first music video which has reached an impressive 403,000 views (as I’m writing this) on Facebook. For a metal band’s first ever music video, those numbers are somewhat staggering. They’re clearly doing a couple things right!
Sonically, this band is sharp. Very sharp. Proceed with caution and try not to cut yourselves. Their sound is essentially groove and breakdown laden modern Metalcore strapped with soaring electronic synths and some very, very nice production. The clarity could easily be placed alongside their contemporaries / influences such as Born of Osiris, The Browning, and Within The Ruins. Chances are, if you like those bands and others in their respective lanes, you’ll enjoy Exoterra.
Today marks the release of the band’s debut EP going by the apocalyptic title of “Earthbreaker”. One can hope they enjoy much more of their promising musical career before breaking the planet. The record is currently available for purchase over on their respective Bandcamp and Amazon pages. Show some love.
“Earthbreaker” is the culmination of 5 solid modern metal tracks that simply belong together with their cohesive sound. These are large scale, space faring tracks looking to take your home away. Listening to them brings a bit of a journey to mind which is always a great quality. A story seems to emerge, especially with tracks like “Ancient Steel” which seems to convey the journey between stars. The previously mentioned “Thermia” sounds like a planetary landing or an invasion after the translation out of light speed that is “From The Stars Above”. Mind you, I haven’t read the lyrics so these interpretations are 100% based on vibes and Exoterra’s heavily visual presentation.
The final track “Lightbringer” is probably my personal favorite off the EP. The music straddling the two minute mark may leave the listeners with a stank face (in a good way). I haven’t exactly attached the same science fiction imagery to it as I have with the other tracks. While listening to it, I really just envision getting kicked in the chest.
The clean vocals can be quite interesting and catchy on “Earthbreaker”. After a few listens, I found certain vocal lines running around my head. They also have a cool, theatrical quality to them which reminded me a bit of the Progressive Metal / Rock cleans of this world. The harsh vocals, on the other hand, are generally measured and do a good job of supporting the overall energy of the tracks. These duties are passed off between synths man Austin Bentley and guitarist Mac Christensen.
On the musical front, the guitars from the man we just mentioned Mac along with Dayton Andersen mainly seem to groove and chop up some chugs with some cool riffs thrown around here and there. The synths from the other mentioned man Austin Bently fly above these, generally providing the overall tone of the tracks. Alan Christopher is a damn machine on the drums. Interesting rhythms come into play on every track.
However, after awhile, things may feel a bit formulaic. The synths and vocals lead the way, the guitars support and stomp the low end, and the drums hold structure. If the synth leads were converted into or matched with guitar leads, moments of this EP would sound unbelievably awesome. Interestingly enough, I’ve felt much in the same about some recent output by the aforementioned Born of Osiris (2013’s “Tomorrow We Die Alive” in particular).
On the other hand, the sound is very focused and professional in ways you don’t usually see from a debut release in the Metalcore field. This band has a definite approach to how they do music and it works for them. It manages to be both somewhat sterile through razor edge production and emotionally packed at the same time – elements that don’t always coexist. Well done. They’ve also come onto the map with a notable aesthetic and feeling which you rarely see from newcomers.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t exactly the most original music but… it is very fun! It’s the kind of material that will open up mosh pits and cause good times to happen. It won’t change your life but it is certainly a promising start from this band as they aim to chisel out their spot in the modern metal landscape. It should be interesting to see how they expand upon their sound and evolve from here. If they find the specific elements that truly differentiate them from the pack, there’s potential a plenty here.
Considering the sheer quality and focus of this debut effort, I’m feeling somewhere between a 7 and an 8 out of 10 would be appropriate for “Earthbreaker”. All of that being said, definitely check out the “Thermia” music video for starters (it can be found above) and head over to Bandcamp and Amazon for more if Exoterra strikes a chord with your ears. You can also show this band some love and keep up with them over on Facebook. Until next time… Beam me up Shhhcotty!