Released: 2013, Indie
Alberta Assault! In early 2014 Calgary, Alberta will be hosting the WACKEN METAL BATTLE. This contest has regional acts perform to audiences and judges who then decide who gets to go further in the contest, with the winner getting a trip to perform at Wacken. Check out http://www.metalbattle.ca
for more details. This is a good a time as any to do my bi-annual, quick, regional round-up of releases from Alberta Metal bands. Even though not all of these bands may be competing in WMB, I’d like to thank the bands who provided review copies for me for my radio show and Metal-Rules.com. The bands are Armifera, Black Pestilence, Bloated Pig, Enemyus, Exit Strategy, Ides Of Winter, Kataplexis, Misanthropy, Scythia, Throne Of Vengeance, Trollband, Vile Insignia and Villainizer. Please feel free to check out the other reviews in this feature.
Exit Strategy are one of Calgary’s bigger name bands in the local and even Canadian scene. Comprised of veterans of the Calgary Metal scene Exit Strategy has an impressive pedigree with former members of Blacksky, Caveat, Kilyakai, Thorazine, Phantom Limb alumni include members of Disciples Of Power and Mares Of Thrace. I’ve watched this grinding quartet evolve over the years. I think I even saw their first (or one of the earliest) gigs ever in a community center years ago! The band is now three albums deep and I feel it is my favourite so far. For one the band has dropped the overtly left-wing political lyrics, which were never to my taste. Secondly, THE ATROCITY MACHINE, all 39 minutes of it, just eases back on the throttle, just a tiny, little bit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a death/grind blitzkrieg, but there are just enough variations injected into the song-writing and tempos that, to my ears, has a slightly more, dare I say it, accessible sound. The third component is the introduction of new vocalist Wes who kills it, following in very tough shoes to fill, but he owns the songs.
The album is very nicely presented in a jewel case with a booklet, with lyrics, photos, notes and so on. I must admit I’m not thrilled with the album title, being just a bit too close to the Exodus album THE ATROCITY EXHIBIT, but is almost not even not worth mentioning. Naturally, for a death/grind album the pace of the entire record is pretty relentless but they do slow down a shade on cuts like ‘Face Of Fear’. Overall there are some very nice melodic soloing, very quick in places with some tones that would not be out of place on a speedy Power Metal song. Too many grind bands get so busy trying to be heavy and noisy that they forget to play guitar.
THE ATROCITY MACHINE looks good, sounds good and the band is world-class for an independent local act. Exit Strategy has delivered their strongest album to date.