Album Review: Exes for Eyes - "The Amsler Grid "

Review by Ian Kean

"The Amsler Grid" by Canadian band Exes For Eyes is sort of a throw back to the mid-late nineties industrial doom sound. Right off the bat with this record I picked up influences like old Ministry and Fear Factory but with a very modern sound to it , which does a very nice job of keeping the songs from sounding dated.

Now I definitely would not go as far to say that "industrial" is a genre that could sum this up or have them lumped into. They are much more aggressive in the song writing and structure then is normal for a band "trying" to achieve the industrial sound, not to mention the soft singing (sometimes almost spooky) breaks from the aggression that happen from time to time on the record (See Track 4 "Romanticize The Struggle" for best example). Now this leaves me undecided on which genre to place this band into , which instantly makes me like this record.

"The Amsler Grid" is not only a great heavy record with everything from killer tones and production value to blood boiling vocal aggression, with some catchy sing song-ish hooks scattered about like icing on the cake.It is also full of surprises , just when you think you have the sound figured out it does a 180 and seamlessly turns into something even more exciting and interesting then what you thought it could be. The Perfect example of this is the final track on the album "A Horrible Mistake" which starts out much like their other heavy songs with heavy as fuck attack, complete with double kick blasts, fierce vocals and odd sounding guitar chords but transforms into something much more than you'd expect. At about 2:00 minutes into this almost seven minute song everything slows down and the guitars take you to a place that seems almost hopeful for a second before it all comes back in, to really drive home the atmosphere set by the guitars in the break section. As the vocals ask "where did our passion Go" in "City after City of the Walking Dead" its a perfect example of how important vocals can be to force the point in a section of thick texture and atmosphere.

I will also mention the fantastic job done on the vocals for this whole album. All to often metal albums are full of vocals delivered with power and anger but the actual lyrics and concepts behind them is usually completely lost. With "Exes For Eyes" you can make what is being said (most of the time) whether its guttural growls or full tilt screams taking place.

"The Amsler Grid" is a very impressive metal record that draws on some old influences and takes them to new and exciting places with unique precision and unmistakable passion. No tour dates posted in their MySpace but I'll keep my fingers crossed.


1 comment:

Dave. C said...

Awesome collaboration and I hope there is more to come! I don't think that something like this could be placed in any genre per say because collaborations and side projects are excellent tools for expanding and experimenting. I do think they brought back some old influences in a little bit of a newer way, I think we need more of that sometimes.... All the time, lol. I do agree that vocals did rule me and I love hearing James scream. For a side project to be written in different places and put together over distance the only thing that upset me after receiving this in the mail was waiting so long to hear it.

Awesome metal by awesome people.