EXMORTUS — Ride Forth (review)

EXMORTUS — Ride Forth album cover Album · 2016 · Neoclassical metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Ride Forth (2016) is the fourth full-length album by US thrash metal act Exmortus. The band previously caught my attention with their previous effort Slave to the Sword (2014); an excellent thrash metal effort that had a strong footing in both the power metal and neoclassical metal camps.

This time around though the Exmortus sound has evolved to greatly favour their neoclassical element, which I’d say is the dominant sound on Ride Forth. There is still some thrash here, but I have great difficulty considering this to be a thrash metal album (especially a technical thrash metal album which is Exmortus’ usual niche). The riffs are fast paced but overall more in line with power/speed metal, a feeling only enhanced by how melodic the album is. Thrash metal implies a level of raw abrasiveness that musically Ride Forth severely lacks. The vocals are growled (yet intelligible), but that nods more towards melodic death metal, or more aptly extreme power metal (which contrary to popular belief is not what Dragonforce play), to my ears.

Of course having heard Slave to the Sword previously this all just seems like a natural progression of the band’s sound. Exmortus are pretty damn good at writing an awesome neoclassical guitar lead. Overall though, I have to say that I don’t find Ride Forth to be an as interesting album as Slave to the Sword. It’s a good well crafted release from the US band but it doesn’t have me clambering for more nor overly interested in giving it many re-listens down the line. I find that the opening track Speed of the Strike really hits its mark in terms of making the record’s new direction felt, but once you get a few tracks in the album starts to sound a bit business as usual. The instrumental Appassionata is insanely awesome though, also a clear highlight of the album.

While I do have to concede that Ride Forth is a step back for Exmortus I don’t actually feel let down by this album. I think it’s great that Exmortus choose to try something a little differently with the influences I heard on Slave to the Sword. It shows that they’re not a one trick pony who are content to make a carbon copy of their previous work, which of course means that there’s every chance that those who didn’t enjoy Slave to the Sword as much as I did will in turn enjoy Ride Forth more than I have. It takes all kinds after all.
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666sharon666 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I still need to check this one out. I really enjoyed their last one and even though you rated this lower your description makes it sound like something I'd quite enjoy - more to the point I'd actually hoped that they might continue to go in this sort of direction as those were my favourite bits on Slave to the Sword (which to touch on a point you mentioned, I thought was more power metal than most seemed to give it credit for).


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