Review Summary: Bound by Exile's Defilement provides hope for the future of deathcore, and in turn, all types of heavy music.
The year was 2011–early Summer 2011 to be exact–and I had nearly lost faith in deathcore. I found myself searching for increasingly more progressive and “new” sounding bands and sub-subgenres to a point where the music I was discovering could hardly be classified into any one type or subset. Though no matter how sweep-filled, shred-ridden or blast beat-packed the song, nothing satisfied me past a superficial listen-through or two. Then came Exeter-based deathcore act Bound by Exile’s single “Sick of It.” Instantly I was hooked. The speedy drums, slamming guitar and bi-polar vocals were everything I had been searching for. It wasn’t long after that when the band announced they would be releasing a new EP in early 2012, and I began counting down the days.
Fast forward to April 28th, 2012, the day I had been anticipating for nearly a year: the day the six-piece was set to release Defilement
, the four-track follow-up to their debut effort, Oppression
. While Oppression
was a strong release on it’s own, it was nothing ground breaking. If anything, it served as a sign of the band’s unharnessed potential more than it served as a stand out release on it’s own. Defilement
, however, is another animal altogether. Filled with adrenaline, chaos and insanity from beginning to end, Defilement
is a maelstrom of aggression, brutality and technicality that most deathcore acts could only dream of achieving.
While it is only a mere four tracks long, Defilement
still provides the listener with a full and well-rounded experience that blends the heaviness and rush of slam death with the careful and precise musicianship of tech death. Iced with the classic deathcore touches of screeching high screams, guttural low growls and bone-shattering breakdowns, nearly any fan of aggressive or heavy music can find something to love about this EP. “You’re Old News, Cunt” best showcases the album’s multifaceted nature: featuring a haunting guitar line to accompany the crushing pound of the bass and drums and the engaging vocals. Throughout the track (and indeed, the entire album) the band walks a careful line between melody and brutality: just when a song seems to dip into a monotonous chug or an overzealous solo, they throw in a new element or a radical change of pace to keep the song moving along.
One element Bound by Exile uses with exceptional brilliance as a means to keep Defilement
fresh is the inclusion of guest vocals. Featuring Gaz King of progressive deathcore juggernauts, Nexilva and Jason Evans, vocalist for the slam-influenced death metal heavy-hitters Ingested, the EP is saved from any looming threat of vocal monotony–something it didn’t need to be concerned with to begin with. Instead, these different vocalists add new depth to their respective tracks. “Desecrate” displays Evans’ trademark near-squealing inwards standing out from Rice and McCarthy’s blistering highs and grimy lows. Meanwhile, “Dethroned” uses King’s mid-range prowess to fill in the hole between the bands two extreme–but opposite–vocal styles. All the while, the vocals are painted on creatively and intelligently to compliment the roaring backdrop and crushing canvas created by the instruments, and their players.
As it turns out, Defilement
's only tangible weakness is it’s brevity. While it’s short length isn’t necessarily a detractor given the incredible amount and density of the material packed into it, the EP does leave the listener wanting more. This is only a small downside though, as the same would be true whether it was four, fourteen or even forty tracks long.
provides something for everybody: solos, sweeps and fills for the tech fans, punishing slams for slam-death aficionados and soul-smashing breakdowns for the scene-kid and mosh-warrior in all of us. So whether you meet one, two, or all three of the above categories, give Bound by Exile a shot–they certainly don’t disappoint.