By Alex Brenner
I’m not gonna tell you that I’m a big fan of prog-metal, but I must tell you Atlanta’s own From Exile do know how to do it right. While music in this genre usually showcases tons of chops, From Exile knows how to use restraint. Sure there are plenty of ripping solos here, and double bass drums that will give you a black eye, but this band knows how to write melodies too. Guitar duo Eric Guenther and Ben Wetzelberger trade off bone crunching riffs and jaw dropping solos throughout. While you might expect to hear blood-curdling screaming the vocals, here they are very atmospheric, very much in the style of local heavyweights Mastodon. It’s more of an instrumental album and clocking in at only 32 minutes From Exile, still seems to cover a lot of ground.
From the opener, aptly titled “Arrival,” it’s clear this band can rock but also write actual songs. The songs kind of fade into one another as if it were a concept album but it’s not. Guitar-wise, I tend to think of Cacophony-era Marty Friedman or maybe Racer X. Although the vocals only appear in three songs, I actually like the fact that they are semi-distorted. The title track is downright amazing and the band even found time to write hooks whilst delivering a severe can of whoop ass.It’s not all head banging crunch either; there is even a cool classical interlude in “Impure Visionary”. From Exile can set a mood too. There are some very ambient sounds to this record. I actually found the record soothing to listen to, rather than brutal.
I was pleasantly surprised with Monolith, there are a lot of great riffs and every track rocks hard. I have not heard metal like this in so long it’s actually refreshing. I found myself head banging and stomping my feet as I listened. The album closer “In the Faded Silence” will make you a fan for sure. The musicianship is excellent without sounding like a showcase and the songs are tight, gut wrenching and to the point. From Exile should be huge in the metal scene soon. If you’re a fan of the genre it’s definitely something worth checking out.