Review Summary: Death metal with direction.
Fashioned from an outlook that appears to be largely pessimistic, or at the very least strongly cynical of the human race as a whole, Exeunt
proves to be an incredibly solid death metal message to the world. Utilising their sophomore release as a vessel of catharsis and purpose, The Mark of Man manage to paint a bleak picture of humanity, spanning several topics that orbit the central idea. An album such as this draws strength from its immediacy, which can largely be attributed to commendable songwriting coupled with proficient musicianship across the board. Guitarist and bassist Christian Humphreys proves to be the band's strongest asset, demonstrating not only a consistently intriguing output on the guitar, but also managing to command the bass effectively even if it is hidden a little too deeply in the mix at times. Underpowered bass is a minor gripe towards the production however, as the remaining spectrum of instruments and vocals shine in pristine quality, retaining enough grit to sustain the grimy atmosphere that partners so well with the subject matter. The frenzied drumming adds another well implemented element to the frenetic attack this album amounts to, with speedy fills advantageously interspersed throughout the album, particularly during the closing moments of ‘Memorandum’. The drummer never falls victim to repetition, and thanks to the effort dedicated to production it’s never obnoxiously overpowering in nature, just brash enough to improve the album to the best of its potential.
Responsibility for the message Exeunt
attempts to send can mostly be accredited to the lyrics. For the most part, the lyrical content is standard death metal fare which has been distorted to fit the desires of the band, at least thematically. It is well constructed, however, and oftentimes the word choice does effectively argue The Mark of Man’s point of view in a manner that is far superior to what many of their contemporaries can manage. Choice phrases including; “Fatalist instinct, the silt within the soul”, “With concrete hearts, we hang at the precipice, resigned to become one with the abyss” and “Choking face down in the s*** and swill, and I reflect ‘why should we exist?’” get to the heart of the issues The Mark of Man are attempting to bring attention to, albeit in a genre familiar fashion. Vocalist Ben Read implements a diverse vocal style that moves between screeching to throaty growling, but his harsh vocals remain clear and he enunciates well enough for the lyrics to be intelligible, further catapulting Exeunt’s
efficiency in regards to conveying its message. Whether it be the spoken word sound-bite which introduces second track ‘Monolithic’ or the interesting instrumental techniques throughout, there is always something interesting going on that just demands attention from the listener. In the end, Exeunt
amounts to a well-constructed and enjoyable death metal album with a specific goal driving it forward. What more could you ask for?