London’s Exist Immortal are a pleasure to experience. They may get lost in the shuffle of the ever-growing technical metal scene, particularly in the UK, but if you scratch beneath the surface, there is much to enjoy about the band that also separates them from many other ‘djent’ or tech metal bands.
They possess the perfect blend of empowering presence, technical prowess and when watching live, viewers grasp a sense of enthralling enjoyment at their sound. A sound that is very much removed from stereotypical technical metal, combining the elements of melody and ambience with ferociousness and vivacity.
Now, with new album Breathe out on Primordial Records, they have yet to experience their best days. But this album is definitely going to take them there. From the offset there is plenty of dark and unrelenting heaviness to soak up, whilst also equal are the opportunities to enjoy soaring melodic vocals from Meyrick de la Fuente. He, himself is an ever-present entity in himself with his diverse range and pervasive ability at capturing mood and eloquence – whether that be as a result of brutal death growls or not, which are a step up from previous album Darkness of an Age.
Perhaps what is more noticeable is the eccentric ebbs and flows of Breathe itself, which is also noticeably more memorable than Darkness of an Age, if only for how it retains the signature Exist Immortal sound. As well as this, Breathe bears resemblance and influence to sequences exhibited from very well versed practitioners of technical metal, but whilst not being parodic. In simpler terms, there are signs of Vildhjarta and TesseracT influence, and even a hint of Breaking Benjamin (a vibe I got from single “Follow Alone”) and Fuente’s unique voice, coupled with the assorted layers and hooks from the guitars and some very interesting instrumental patterns still keep the sound purely ‘Exist Immortal’ more than anything else.
Overall, one could say Breathe is heavier than Exist Immortal’s previous work, but more importantly, is it has every strength of the band to speak of and then some. To a casual listener, this may be par for the course in tech metal releases in that it has many layers, exceptional recording quality and polyrhythms. But to those who listen regularly like myself, there is much to enjoy about Breathe that would make you want to rank higher on the list of tech that makes the rounds.
It is a very enjoyable release that has plenty to offer.
Exist Immortal are:
Meyrick de la Fuente – vocals
Kurt Valencia – guitar
James Hewitt – guitar
David Billote – bass
Charlie Bines – drums