Reviewed: July 2018
Released: 2018, Prosthetic Records
Reviewer: Lord Of The Wasteland
On the aptly-named THE SOUND OF STEEL, California-based metallers Exmortus once again take the reins and unleash an album that can best be described as “real metal.” With their fifth album in ten years, the prolific quartet keeps to much the same formula as before, with the old-school thrash influence at the forefront backed with the melodic riffage of Iron Maiden amid the occasional neo-classical Malmsteen flourishes. For those new to Exmortus, the band is quite a different beast and a refreshing sound in today’s murky metal waters.
“Make Haste” and album closer “Victory Or Death!” blast right out of the gates, each with a pummeling riff sure to incite many a moshpit. “Feast Of Flesh” gallops along buoyed by a double bass flurry from Carlos Cruz. “Turn The Tide” and “A Minor Instrumental” showcase the band’s neo-classical influences with blazing runs that would impress Yngwie himself and “Tempest” is right out of the Malmsteen playbook. “Strength And Honor” and “Victory Or Death!” drift into 3 Inches Of Blood territory incorporating a dual vocal style that comes off a bit awkward. Musically, Exmortus has always been spot on but the vocals of “Conan” Gonzalez continue to be the band’s Achilles heel. Gonzalez gets the job done but is very generic in his delivery and style. Admittedly, the style doesn’t lend itself to a lot of experimentation but the falsettos attempted on “Strength And Honor” and “Victory Or Death!” really don’t work at all.
Exmortus wears its influences on its gauntlet-covered sleeves on THE SOUND OF STEEL. This isn’t poseur metal or striving to follow any scene or trends. Exmortus is for the guy in the leather jacket-under-patched vest who is headbanging at the front of the stage, drenched in sweat with horns raised high. The clichés are everywhere but work within the genre and don’t come off as phony or cheesy. Exmortus has carved itself out a comfortable niche in the field and THE SOUND OF STEEL delivers what fans have come to expect.
KILLER KUTS: “Make Haste,” “Feast Of Flesh,” “To The Ends Of The Earth,” “Turn The Tide”
1. Make Haste
2. Feast Of Flesh
3. Into The Maw Of Hell
4. To The Ends Of The Earth
5. A Minor Instrumental (Instrumental)
6. Strength And Honor
7. Turn The Tide
8. Tempest (Instrumental)
9. Riders Of Doom
10. Victory Or Death!
Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez—Vocals/Guitar