EXIVIOUS — Exivious

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EXIVIOUS - Exivious cover
4.03 | 19 ratings | 7 reviews
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Album · 2009


1. Ripple Of A Tear (7:30)
2. Time And Its Changes (4:39)
3. Asurim (5:31)
4. All That Surrounds: Part 1 (3:38)
5. Waves Of Thought (6:24)
6. The Path (5:45)
7. All That Surrounds: Part 2 (3:39)
8. Embrace The Unknown (4:44)
9. An Elusive Need (4:39)

Total Time 44:29


- Tymon / guitars
- Michel Nienhuis / guitars
- Robin Zielhorst / bass
- Stef Broks / drums

- Paul Masvidal / guitar (track 8)

About this release

Self released.

Thanks to Raff for the addition and Lynx33 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Exivious" is the debut full-length studio album by Dutch progressive jazz/fusion metal act Exivious. The album, which is limited to 1000 hand-numbered copies, was self-released in May 2009. Each copy features a unique mini-poster.

Exivious are probably best known for featuring former Cynic members Tymon Kruidenier and Robin Zielhorst, but the band go back as far as 1997 and have released three demos before the release of this debut album. They started out as, what I would characterize, a Cynic clone, but soon dropped the growling vocals and became a fully instrumental unit.

While the music features metal elements like double bass drums and some relatively hard edged power chord riffing, the music style is at it´s core jazz/fusion based. To my ears this is jazz/fusion first and progressive metal second. The musicianship is outstanding on the album and even though this is a self-released album, the band have managed to produce an album with a good professional sound quality. The tracks are complex, featuring multible sections and changes in dynamics, a fusion based rythm section and some really well played guitar solos and themes.

"Exivious" is actually quite the impressive release by the Dutch, and if you enjoy jazz/fusion with a metal edge, this is definitely a recommendable purchase. A 4 star (80%) rating is warranted.
Conor Fynes
'Exivious' - Exivious (9/10)

As the genre of metal has virtually reached its creative peak, attempts have been made to crossover this relatively extreme sound in music with many other genres, most notably being classical music, and jazz. As one could guess, many of these attempts to transform the sound of heavy metal into something else fall through and only come out half-baked, perhaps showing potential, but often fail to do anything that has not already been done before. Exivious' full-length debut comes at a stage where jazz-metal fusion has already been up and running for almost twenty years, and some could argue that it was perfected shortly afterwards. Regardless, there are few acts I have heard that incorporate the two styles as fairly together as does Exivious, and along with a better performance than I could have hoped for in an album like this, 'Exivious' is one of the best instrumental metal albums I have ever heard.

When describing the sound and music of this band, it is very useful to point out that the guitarist and lead man of this project Tymon Kruidenier is a member of the legendary progressive death metal act Cynic, helping to make one of my favourite albums 'Traced In Air' as incredible as it was. For anyone who has heard that album, the same style of melodic, yet highly technical riffs translates well onto an even jazzier template. The music here is completely instrumental, and for the style that Exivious are playing, that is a good thing; having vocals to work into this music would have been a confusing and distracting move. Instead of the progressive death metal that Cynic played, think of something quite a bit more mellow, yet retaining every bit of technicality. As opposed to a metal album with hints of jazz as I was expecting, Exivious finds themselves dead in-between the two genres. The music is constantly shifting gears and dynamics, light on recurring ideas but heavy on complexity and dynamic flow. Think of Pat Metheny at his most complex, amp up the heaviness, and you begin to get an idea of what Exivious is about.

One thing that could be complained about here is the apparent lack of melody in the music, and while there is certainly nothing here that a listener will find themselves humming along to, there is more than enough here that keeps a listener engaged and interested in what the band is doing. Although there is a definite focus on keeping things technically impressive, Exivious plays their material with a surprising amount of feeling, thanks in no small part to the sort of freedom that the jazz style gives its musicians. On top of the main course, there are respites from the technical jazz metal, sometimes taking the form of mellow sections within songs, but most notably being the pair of interlude tracks called 'All That Surrounds', which each form a masterful ambiance using laid-back tapping easily reminiscent of Animals As Leaders. These comprise the most accessible slice of what Exivious is about, and the rest of the album takes quite a bit more time to really become involved with. At first, 'Exivious' is an album that while a technical marvel, seems to meander around and scarcely leave the starting grid. My first impression with the music was certainly wrong though, and while the music of this band may only appeal to those who are able to appreciate both metal and jazz, it stands as being one of the most enduring masterpieces of the metal fusion genre, and I can only hope that they do not stop with their debut.
Phonebook Eater
Exivious is a “Fusion Metal” instrumental band formed by members of both legendary death metal band Cynic and prog metal band Textures. It seems that they are currently on hiatus, and so far the only album they put together is this self titled debut. I saw all the infinite praises they gave to this album, but I have to admit that I’m disappointed by it.

One thing no one can deny, by listening to this album, how excellently prepared these musicians are; especially the rhythm section, with jazz influenced drummer Stef Broks, the virtuos bass player Robin Zeilhorst, with his amazing fretless bass that enriches the music, a style that is obviously inspired by legend Jaco Pastorius. The guitars are also phenomenal, thanks to Cynic guitarist Tymon Kruidenier, with also Michel Nienhuis from Sengaia; thanks to them the riffs are extremely complex and technical, and when they play the slower parts they have a much jazzier touch.

Since this features members that all come from prog metal bands, the main style of the album is of course this genre, but what makes it really original is the surprisingly massive fusion and math metal influences. The rhythms are very fast and esoteric, the melodies very challenging to listen to, because of the guitars, and even the bass at times. The production is clean, the mixing is perfect, so what is wrong with this debut? First of all, I noticed that this album has a weak structure: It sounds a lot like a cluster of songs that frankly have all a similar structure, and they kind of sound all the same, so I’m not really understanding the philosophy of this organization. The only thing that makes the album a little more solid is the presence of the two parts of “All That Surrounds”, and both parts are very similar even melodically. Also, some songs turn me off, just for the fact that they aren’t at all memorable or hardly have any emotion or attitude, and so I forgot about them pretty quickly. It sound just like a few musicians just jamming for 44 minutes, with most definitely some very good ideas that come along. I don’t deny that many parts are mind blowing, like the entire opener “Ripple Of A Tear”, or even the next track, “Time And It’s Changes”, but other songs just aren’t as good, said in a much more simple way. Another one of my favorites is the closing piece “An Elusive Need”, with just great musicianship, especially from the guitars.

An album that I partially enjoyed, but didn’t light my day in a particular way. “Exivious” is most definitely an ambitious project, but they really should try to put a little more feeling to the songs (please keep in mind that I’m a huge prog metal fan, and that I don’t mind technical virtuosity at all, if used correctly). If you’re a big fan of this genre, you should check this out, but don’t expect too much from it.
A dozen or more listens, and I've yet to crack the code.

Being infatuated with Traced in Air really made getting Exivious a rather routine sounding decision. However, I was not really properly prepared for the incredible fusion of jazz and metal that Traced in Air could not have even dreamed of achieving. Exivious, the fusion of former members of Cynic as well as former members of the Dutch band Textures, is an alarmingly talented group of individuals. With both a strong Cynic flavour as well as a stronger jazz flavor, Exivious provides a savory blend of complexity and downright beauty with a metallic zest. While many jazz metal bands can pride themselves on unispired but undeniable jazzy keyboard and bass lines, Exivious can easily rise above the pack with their incredible harmonies, soloing, and overall musicianship of the music.

Ripple of a Tear breaks open with a jazzy bass line, but not your run of the mill jazzy bass line. This is a top notch kick-you-in-the-balls epic bass lines fit for Scott LaFaro of the classic Bill Evans Trio (he could rip out quite a bass line). The song takes the listener on a sonic journey of sweeping licks and incredible and dynamic sections, with a truly sublime fretless bass solo (a fretless is an staple for every bassist). Overall, the track provides the essential and the perfect, making for an overall stupendous opener.

Time and it's Changes, aptly named for the copious amounts of time signature changes present in the track, is another stupendous and jazzy track, again with a prominent bass line. This track, with much stronger emphasis on the atmosphere and ambiance of the backing track, has a much chiller, but at the same time a faster tempo and more free flowing, feel to it. Overall, this provides yet another near perfect jazz metal track.

Asurim, with even more odd time signatures than the last track, is one of the more "metal" tracks of the album. With just slightly less pure "jazz" and bass solos, the band rips out their true riffing power. With some really great riffs backing the supreme soloing going on, the band really goes crazy on this song.

All That Surrounds, the ~7 minute "epic" of the album, is broken into two sections. Part 1 is a very mellow and somber piece that slowly builds into a serenade of beautiful bass solos and guitar backings. The track is truly beautiful, employing some interesting tapping techniques. Overall, the track is one of the more mellow tracks on the album, and a great dynamic for the album.

Waves of Thought sharply contrasts the previous track with darting licks and quick on off riffing and soling attacks. The song tapers off into a more melodic feel near the end, with some fantastic solos from both all three stringsmen.

The Path is a more atmospheric, but still very incredible and jazzy, track. It has a very slow and ambient intro, but has no hesitation of switching very quickly back and forth between melodic and metallic and jazzy and awesome!

Part 2 of All That Surrounds continues that very somber ambient feel of the first part. This time, they insinuate more free flowing guitar licks and bass solos, making for an even cooler track than the first part. Overall, the suite really cools down the album, bringing it out of the sixth gear, and makes the album even more dynamic and beautiful than it was already.

Embrace the Unknown finally brings on the quintessential Cynic member - guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal, to one of my favorite tracks on the album. The song breaks out with a fantastic bass solo, and quickly breaks into another, jazzier, ...um... "solo" of some synthesizer/guitar sounding thing. The track has a very Cynic-y feel, which is understandable, and very much welcome for this Cynic lover. The riffing has that up-down feel typical to Masvidal, and I love it! The whole track is teeming with dynamic after dynamic, filling the track up with great sounds and textures. Overall, this track is easily my favorite of the album and a must for any Cynic fan.

An Elusive Need, the closer to this stupendous album, has a slower and more laid back feel to it, as well as having a quick and ready guitar lick fronting it. The track is a very jovial sounding track, with quick and upbeat rhythms and an overall very upbeat feel to the song. It ends the album with a great smile of satisfaction on my face, making this one of my most recent favorite albums.

ALBUM OVERALL: Jazz metal always seems to have a special place in the sonic spectrum that radiates from speakers, at least for my ears. As soon as I hear a rhythmic polyrhythm of jazzy bas solo, whether it's played well or not, the album seems to be elevated at least a little bit. In the case of Exivious, the album is elevated a hell of a lot. With a great bassist, most bands can do pretty much anything, especially if the bass is prominent, and this band certainly utilizes theirs. Every track has a supremly funky feel to it, with strong melodic and rhythmic structures backing it. Overall, the album is easily the best jazz metal album I've heard. However, the album still has those stereotypical jazz metal tendencies that ring a little bit similar to Cynic or Planet X that defects the originality of the music only by the slightest bit. However, it is still a supremely bitchin' album! 5- stars.

Members reviews

Fusion metal pinnacle Sub-genre: Progressive Metal For Fans of: Canvas Solaris, Allan Holdsworth, Return to Forever, Gordian Knot Vocal Style: None Guitar Style: Varied electric. Metal distortion but little in the way of "chugging". Use of swells for texture and plenty of clean tone. Keyboard Style: None that I am aware of. Percussion Style: Rock kit, occasional metal double-bass sound, never overbearing. Bass Style: Very tasty, warm fretless electric bass. Other Instruments: None You are not likely to enjoy this album if: you insist on vocals or are a genre purist of any sort.

Summary: The roots of Exivious are well documented. It is those roots that draw people to want to hear their self-titled debut album. But there is more - or perhaps less depending on context - to the band than what is implied by their roots. First and foremost is the fact that this is a 100% homegrown, do-it-yourself, self funded project. As we are well into the age that this is not only possible, but becoming the norm, we tend to find a lot of boiler plate production value that seems to limit the creative process. This is not the case with Exivious. While it is not hard to pick out derivative elements in this album, the presentation is wholly their own and finds a healthy niche in a genre that is now flooded with hybridization. The most simplistic description of style/genre would be fusion metal. I refrain from using the J word for fear of a purist attack, but jazz elements resound throughout the compositional structures, chord modulations and use of broad dynamics and textures. An instant injection of warmth of tone is provided by the use of fretless bass. The guitars, while unmistakably distorted at most times, are never content to ride power chords. Instead frequent tonal variations, key modulations and string ensemble-like volume swells provide a strong sense of contrast throughout the album. The use of these tools leaves the project not wonting of vocals. Exivious allows the music to tell the story completely. They use a seemingly simple device in a two-part intermission type song, "All That Surrounds", which ties the albums segments together and provides the cohesiveness of story. The first part gives a calming false resolution major chord sound that is unraveled by the more urgent "Waves of Thought" and "The Path", finally leaving the listener on an ethereal precipice with the minor and whole-tonal "All That surrounds, pt.2". The album again resolves with the upbeat "An Elusive Need". The album rounds out at forty four and a half minutes, a short album by today's standards, but containing not a moment of filler that permeates 21st century recordings. The sense of completeness as the album fades is to often missing in the majority of music in the last 20 years.

Final Score: I spent a good 18 months listening to this album trying to figure out if it was really the masterpiece I thought it was from the first listen. In fact, I am drawn more to this album as time passes. It has the perfect balance leaving the listener simultaneously sated, yet wanting more. No element completely dominates or submits. Tasteful and artistic. 5 stars.
Exivious debut album it seems to me that has carried along the best in Allan Holdsworth (IOU), Tribal Tech (idem) and the obvious Cynic spirit. As one flows along the album musical ideas, it appears that it never gets old and can find a way to be surprised by the next track, it indeed takes us to what we might call "unexplored paths" in the mainly cliché metal scene. It feels like a finished idea, nothing let loose or random in its way. It seems to me that this album might be like a drop of oil on a papper sheet. It permeates it all.
It will not come as a surprise that Exivious follow in Cynic's footsteps, since their founder, guitarist Tymon Kruidenier, is also a member of the ground-breaking 'jazz-metal' outfit. Unlike the US band, though, by writing vocals out of the equation they have removed one of the main hurdles for would-be listeners of the more extreme fringes of prog metal. Indeed, no matter how intricate or proficient a band's music may be, the use of growls (or any similar styles) can be a major turnoff for those accustomed to the more 'traditional' varieties of rock.

As is the case with most instrumental albums, "Exivious" requires careful listening in order to be fully appreciated. It is definitely not the kind of stuff you can put on as a soundtrack for other activities - complex music, full of twists and turns, yet not unnecessarily complicated, or weird for weirdness' sake. In fact, the music has a beautiful, natural flow, a clarity and melodic quality that not many would associate with 'extreme' metal. Even though guitars make up a prominent part of the sound, they never get to the point of overwhelming the other instruments. As in most jazz-fusion, however, the foundation of Exivious' sound lies in the rhythm section, especially in Stef Broks' jaw-dropping drumming.

One of the plus points for "Exivious" is undoubtedly its short running time, which prevents music as intricate as this from turning into a mere exercise in technical prowess. Opener "Ripple of a Tear", the longest track at 7.30 minutes, shows evident jazz-fusion influences, with clean, almost relaxed guitar licks alternating with heavy, sharp riffs, and an arrestingly beautiful guitar solo. The second longest item, "Waves of Thought", shares in many ways the same 'rollercoaster' structure, shifting abruptly from aggressive riffing and soloing to an almost spacey mood, with keyboards echoing faintly in the background, sparse drumming and chime-like guitar sounds; while the heavily bass-led "Embrace The Unknown", with its extended synth guitar solo, comes across as an almost textbook-perfect example of 'fusion-metal'. Some other tracks impress instead for their understated, laid-back mood, namely both parts of "All That Surrounds", featuring some distinctive, water-like effects in the second half; and "The Path", with a beautiful, atmospheric guitar solo in the middle, and very little trace of the band's trademark, hectic riffing.

Head-spinningly complex without being cold and sterile as other efforts in a similar vein, "Exivious" can easily be listed as one of the top releases of 2009. In fact, the band's sterling musicianship, coupled with their admirable sense of restraint, focuses on creating cohesive, highly listenable tracks rather than pointless displays of technical skill. Strongly recommended to practising musicians and fans of intricate, challenging music, it may come across as daunting at first, but it is well worth every second of the effort. One of the milestone releases of 2009, bar none.

Ratings only

  • Peacock Feather
  • Lynx33
  • luanpedi
  • cannon
  • Xaxaar
  • harmonium.ro
  • spitf1r3
  • Anster
  • nauscicaa
  • sauromat
  • Negoba
  • Zarahuztra

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