Exhortation ‘Oracle of Bones’

Formed in 2014, from ex ‘Skourge’ members, Exhortation are a Texas-based heavy metal band, whose fan base has quickly grown.  Having already supported well established bands such as Nuclear Assault, they’re now billed to play alongside others, namely Hate Eternal, Misery Index, Beyond Creation, etc.

Although Christianity is amongst their main influences, Exhortation are equally influenced by more widespread social and individual issues and how these impact on modern society. This debut studio EP was released in August 2015 and the band are currently preparing their first full-length album.

The Human Condition – Gradual intriguing piano intro, with a spoken news feed of world events, demonstrating the development of the influences behind the ensuing songs.

Toxic Disembowelment – Banging, unhesitant drum and riff intro – heavy as hell.  Fast-paced, dark and hard-hitting metal mayhem.  Slowing the pace, for some interestingly blackened riffs from the mid-section onwards, then picking it back up again and filling the track with well honed growly vocals and an atmospheric haunting tone.  For such a young band, it holds a maturity and skill base beyond their years.

Husk Of The Pit – A more melodic intro, still retaining the hard and heavy factor in spades.  Great riffage and unapologetically screamo lyrics; a deep catchiness to its rhythm and pace – cleverly and disappointingly short.  This is what you call whetting the appetite for more.

For Every Goliath, There Is A Stone – Very much in the nature of The More I See’s ‘Empty Chair’, this opens with a creeping, teasing intro.  Varied and versatile arrangements, practised harmonies and a generally cohesive feel, growing progressively more elaborate and ending with some spoken word input; this is probably the wild card which just fills the space with infinite possibilities. 

Blood Of The Chosen One – Loud and melodic intro; soon seguing into a cranked up rapid rhythm and more of those deathly vocals, matched by the funereal lyrics.  This is one of those bands whose performance complements their music well.  Again, some intriguing alternations in pitch, tone, pace and general feel, highlighting their absolute versatility and capacity for progression.

Oracle Of Bones – Here, they’ve nailed that rare skill of breaking into an intro in a way which makes it seem as if they’ve already hit the mid-section.  If there’s one thing that can be said about this band, it’s that they have the unique ability to experiment in a sense that makes you wonder where they’re going next, amply demonstrated throughout this track.  Moving seamlessly from one sound to another in an entirely fluid way; you’d think they’d been on the scene a long time.  Combining instrumentals and sung vocals with spoken word sections and curiously closing with the words ‘in the beginning’, it’s just a very varied and highly skilled example of how well incorporating different methods can work, in the right hands.

Overall, a highly inventive, intriguing and complex piece of work, worthy of mass exposure.  A solid and original example of why metal holds no age boundaries and what’s possible when passion and genuine ability unite.  The techniques inherent in here have to be heard to be believed.

9/10 *********

For fans of melo-death, thrash, extreme metal, prog and everything in between.

 

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