Review Summary: The constant exploration pays off
Exxasens return Back To Earth
after taking a long ride through the cosmos. The band has switched to a more electronic-oriented output in the past few years, however now, they are once more channeling their roots, reverting to the metal influences.
Back To Earth
is a mix between Satellites
' dreamy soundscapes and Polaris
' soaring power. Eleven Miles
comes closest to the current affair, but there are little tweaks Exxasens have learned over the years, thus managing to successfully incorporate them in the songs' structures. Tunes like 'Hugeness' and 'Supernova' have a more delicate approach, although they both burst into fiery rockers at some point. Starting with lovely, delayed guitars and keyboards, they continue to grow, going through several smooth changes. It's great to see the Spaniards branching out, crafting more complex structures and occasionally incorporating vocals too. Guitar player/founding member, Jordi Ruiz always knew how to create that ethereal atmosphere, still on this album it feels like he once more updated his skills (this applies to the whole band though). As per usual, the heavily processed production helps the overall result, however, I believe it only enhances the potential. There's enough of it behind the technology used to justify the great results. Same goes with main piece, 'Bright Side Of The Moon' which mashed cool metal riffs with several melodic segments, shifting constantly, until the brutal coda smashes your ears. This is quite the punchiest track in their catalogue, plus a sign of personal evolution.
Of the more immediate tracks, first single 'My Hands Are Planets' is an infectious ditty where again powerful guitars are intertwined with hazy passages. Continuing where 'Rocket To The Sky' left off, the keyboards are doing so much with just a few notes. 'Your Dreams Are My Dreams' is a revisited version of the eponymous song off Polaris
. The band adjusted, trimmed and then gave it a fresh sound, showing there was enough potential right from the beginning that led to where they are today. Moreover, Exxasens felt inspired to include lead vocals on 'Saturn'. While not essential, they add a nice story to the music. There's some work to do on this field, but the tone is suitable, so this experiment comes off as surprisingly pleasant.
To conclude with an often debated subject, Exxasens and God Is An Astronaut seem to continue to cross paths, each finding new territories to explore. After going in each others' direction, there has been a lot of common ground created between the two acts. They started at opposites poles and now both are on the same page, having released some of their hardest hitting material so far. Of course the latter were the first in the game, yet at this point I'd rather look at the Spanish group as equals, not clones. By now there's enough proof to deserve their place as one of the main evolving post rock acts today.