EXOCRINE - Legend
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Release Date: January 26, 2024
Label: Season of Mist
In modern metal’s arms race to extremes, with tremendous flexing of intensity and speed, Technical Death Metal has departed from the main streams in recent years. Bands like Archspire have taken the genre to places previously thought to be impossible. However, in the process, more conventional (if that is possible for metalheads) listeners tend to be left behind with a sense of incomprehension or indifference. It takes more than just technical prowess to create a truly memorable and expressive Tech Death album – and EXOCRINE has done just that with their stellar new release “Legend!”
Hailing from Bordeaux, France, the four-piece was formed 2013, with a remarkably stable lineup. Aside from a moderate wear and tear on drummers (not surprising given the jaw-dropping hammering demonstrated by current drummer Theo Gendron), the founding members remain. Rather unusual in current times and the genre, vocalist Jordy Besse doubles up on bass. Sylvain Octor Perez covers the lead guitars, and Nicolas La Rose is completing the line-up on the second guitar. Starting with their debut album “Unreal Existence” from 2015, they have churned out releases at an impressive pace, “Legend” being their 6th full-length!
The album is tailor-made to be experienced in a single listening session, front-to-back. Relatively short songs are transitioning smoothly, creating an impression of an overarching story being told. Brutal and technical sections alternate with tasteful guitar leads and catchy chorus hooks, with an occasional change-up section introducing surprising elements.
The production is excellent, throwing a vibrant and intense soundscape at the listener without reverting to a loudness-wars squeeze of the dynamic range. Guitar solos are tastefully done, remarkably varied in approaches – including some fast clean lead playing reminiscent of Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders), up to eerie and xeno-sounding flavors that could be mistaken for Ron Jarzombek (ex-Watchtower, Spastic Ink, Blotted Science). Synths are included in a tasteful manner, occasionally taking the stage in short breaks, without becoming detrimental to the overall heaviness. In the closing track ‘By the Light of the Pyre”, a full-blown orchestral intro turns up the epicness scale before embarking on a grand finale of Tech Death madness.
Lyrically, “Legend” covers unsurprising but fitting topics based on science fiction and esotericism. Gory and explicit horror is eschewed in favor of grandorous subjects, on the scale of divity and humanity as a whole.
The album concludes after a focused but expansive 43 minutes, leaving its beholder tremendously stimulated, spent, and ready for an easy-listening palate changer. For the Tech Death connoisseur or discoverer looking to get beyond Necrophagist in a fresh interpretation, look no further than EXOCRINE’s “Legend”!
Written by Bas
Sylvain Octor Perez - Lead Guitars
Nicolas La Rosa - Guitars
Jordy Besse - Bass / vocals
Theo Gendron - Drums
5. The Altar of War
6. Dust in the Naught
9. The Oath
10. By the Light of the Pyre