Review Summary: A stunning display of technical ability, "In Hatred's Flame" is an album that fans of metal will rejoice to.
I won’t profess to have any knowledge of what “neo-classical thrash metal” actually is, but if that’s what indeed ExMortus
is, then I stand impressed. I had never even heard of the genre before these guys, which leads me to believe they thought of it on their own. What it boils down to in the end though, however, is that these guys can play, and that’s all that counts.
Another emerging band from the newly rising death/thrash scene, ExMortus’s
calling card isn’t being overly heavy, or being murder-oriented, but by being exceptionally adept at their instruments. Their full length, “In Hatred’s Flame”, reeks of technicality and incredible achievement. Nearly every song is covered in mini-solos from guitarists Tak and Conan, not to mention unorthodox and impressive drumming by Mario. Truth be told, there are hints of neo-classical on here, which then makes their new genre sound even more rightfully titled.
Kicking off with the title track, “In Hatred’s Flame” releases a salvo of pulverizing riffs that are connected by solo-like fills (which is mainly where their neo-classical influence is shown) and Balmore’s death metal oriented frantic screams. It doesn’t take long to see just how talented Tak and Conan are, since about a minute into the song you come across the first of many intense short solos that grace this album with their appearance. “Triumph By Fire”, which may just be the best metal song of 2007, features some of the most insane guitar fills in thrash history. Mix that in with Mario’s crazed short drum solo and Balmore’s constant wails of “Triumph by fire!
”, and you’ve got yourself a definite head-banger. The rest of the songs follow in similar suit, such as the melody-infused instrumental shredder “Axes of War”, or the hammer-pounding thrash assaults “War Gods” and “Onward to Battle”. The closer, “Storms”, is destined from the start to snap some necks with its heavier tone.
Most of ExMortus’s
material centers around battle, which is often complimented by blistering solos. Balmore constantly teams up with Tak and Conan to deliver a truly unique, frenzied experience. While he screams out “Up off your selfishness and in your damned throne, For your betrayal you are plagued to burn!
”, he’s meet by ferocious riffing and complex fills. While Balmore’s vocals are certainly a strong point, it’s Tak and Conan who constantly deliver a Godly performance. This can easily be summed up on one song: “Onward To Battle”, which features Tak and Conan not trading off, but soloing at the same time! If that’s not metal, then nothing is.
If anything plagues this album, it’s the actual length of it, since there are only 7 tracks. While each of those tracks is worth a ton of listens, overtime you’ll find yourself wishing for 2 or 3 more. Along with that, Balmore’s bass isn’t as dominated as most would like it to be, as it takes a backseat to the guitars and drums. It’s not really that big of deal, but if Balmore can follow Tak and Conan along, it’d be wicked to hear him bust out some fills of his own.
“In Hatred’s Flame” is a phenomenal debut hands down, and it clearly shows that ExMortus
has a future ahead of them. The guitar work is some of the most impressive I’ve ever come across in a long time, and mix that in with great drumming and solid vocal work and you’ve got yourself an album that won’t grow dull. And did I mention that “Onward to Battle” has Tak and Conan soloing at the same time?