Review Summary: Genre limitations ultimately cause a debut full length to falter.
Before actually listening to the album, Exoplanet
would seem to be a good choice for someone looking for something different within the genre of metal. There’s been more than an abundance of listeners claiming it to be a revolutionary step in the right direction for the stagnant genre. However, it was less than surprising to discover this release isn’t doing anything totally refined or
new, and it becomes pretty clear why this is the case when examining the basic sound of the band.
The main issue is the basis of the band’s sound leaves little room for stepping outside its boundaries. Is it possible for a band playing deathcore to completely abandon their classification? Some people may claim it’s just the right balance between breakdowns and riffs, but if we’re looking at just the ratio between the two there’s not really anything “progressive” about it. The breakdowns and chugging riffs (a majority of the album) do fit in with the more melodic bits extremely well, but they still become extremely tiring only a few songs into the album. Sure, there will be times where the listener will get back into them as the album progresses, but there will be more times where they will completely despise them. Fortunately, the melodic sections keep the album from becoming a total waste.
The band is known for trying
to push the boundaries of their music by switching it up a bit, and even if they don’t know what exactly they’re shooting for, they try to discover their own sound with more melodically written sections of music. As they make up about one third of the album, they become the true saving grace for the listener. The best example would be the middle of the song “Flourish”, which does an incredible job of transporting the listener from all the monotony of their heavier sound through beautifully layered guitar lines. It also shows how well the band’s sound works when both sides of their sound (heavy and melodic) are combined at once, and brings the song to a climax a whole minute and a half before it’s over. Then it’s back to more breakdowns until it finishes out.
If the listener hasn’t given up on the genre yet, then they will discover the band’s lack of balance is their most obvious personal flaw. It would have been beneficial for the group to add more areas of slower and thought provoking writing and cut some the more monotonous heavy sections. However, the sound of the album itself doesn’t really have any flaws. The guitar tone and vocals are decent enough and the drumming is more than adequate. The production is pretty good too; it definitely has that feel as if it’s reaching for something, and you can feel the music shift as it switches between the various sections. However, the basic flaws of the genre keep this release from truly lifting off into space.