EXMORTUS — Slave to the Sword (review)

EXMORTUS — Slave to the Sword album cover Album · 2014 · Technical Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
"Slave to the Sword" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US power/thrash metal act Exmortus. The album was released through Prosthetic Records in February 2014. Exmortus was formed in 2003 and released several demos and a couple of EPs before releasing their debut full-length studio album "In Hatred's Flame (2008)".

The music on "Slave to the Sword" is a mix of thrash, power and traditional heavy metal. Add to that a very strong neo-classical element and you´re halfway there. The riffs are often hard edged thrash metal riffing and the raw distorted vocals also point in that direction, but the power metal element is equally strong. The traditional heavy metal element is mostly due to the lyrics and image of the band. Songtitles like "Warrior of the Night", "Battle-Born" and especially "Metal Is King" should also give an indication of the "true metal" lyrical themes.

The music is guitar focused, with loads of neo-classical influenced solos and themes (most prominently featured on the instrumental "Moonlight Sonata (Act 3)"), usually played at the speed of light. This is generally very fast-paced music featuring a great energy level. The band are incredibly tight and some of the guitar trickeries are jaw drop inducing. It´s not often I´m completely blown away by the technical skills of metal musicians these days, but these guys are fantastic in that respect.

"Slave to the Sword" is well produced too, featuring a clear and powerful sound production, which suits the music well, and all in all this is a high quality release by Exmortus. Besides the very high level musicianship, which is a great asset, it´s how the band combine the stylistic elements that´s the real attraction here. As such you´ll find little here you haven´t heard before, but the combination of the elements is a bit surprising and ultimately proves to be a pretty fresh approach. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
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