Written by Carcassbomb
- Isle Of The Cross
- Progressive Death Metal
- February 21, 2020
- Via Rockshot Records (Pre-Order)
Okay. This is some crazy shit, there’s so much going on and some people are going to love that and others might have a hard time. I find myself somewhere between the two depending on the track. There’s metal vocals and there’s operatic vocals, there’s probably a 7 string guitar and sometimes it straight up sounds like a video game OST. Overall it’s very reminiscent of Ne Obliviscaris‘ debut album. Clocking in at just over an hour, there’s a lot to explore on Excelsis and it is available on the 21st of February.
This album has some clear high points and clear low points, it’s not a straight shot though it exhibits a lot of cool ideas. There’s progressive death metal tracks and then there’s purely progressive metal/rock tracks, or preferably, a bit of both at the same time. The prog metal aspects are more hit and miss than the death aspects. There’s a track or two that were kind of agonising and could have been shortened as they contained one main idea that I just wasn’t on board with. The track “Stars” for example is quite the ballad but is ruined by the amount of auto tune on the vocals, it feels too artificial to be the centrepiece of the song… it was kinda like that one really popular Seether track with Amy Lee that emotional chads would drunkenly sing along to. “Empyrean” followed it and wasn’t very good either, it had a sort of gothic? angle and just didn’t work.
That’s just the middle part of the album though, there are some great tracks either side of the lull. The opening track for example starts off on the right foot with some shit that sounds like it belongs in The Fifth Element. It also gets right into the death metal aspect of the sound with the industrial and folkier influences being more of a periphery addition to the mix and not the sole focus. The first few tracks are pretty solid and entertaining in that way, sometimes unexpectedly emotionally stirring. There’s definitely a couple of tracks here I would use in a playlist and unlike much of the album they stick to the promise of progressive death metal.
The last part of the album while still better than the middle, has a couple of problems. It likes to get too theatrical for its own good with a couple of smaller tracks breaking up a handful of regular tracks, it kills the momentum for me and deviates too much from the genre premise of the album. The couple of good tracks on this end of the album are again something I would put in a playlist and I even found myself singing along to “Paradigm”.
When they play metal they excel, when they play guitar driven video gamey future stuff they excel too, when they try everything else it’s meh. This is one I’d say at least try it because there will be a couple of people who become super fans while many will eventually find a point where they want to turn it off. After hearing it a bunch of times I think it’s palatable enough and if it were cut down a bit could have been a lot better. The opening and closing tracks are the most well rounded versions of their overall idea.