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Exmortus - "In Hatred's Flame" (CD)

Exmortus - "In Hatred's Flame" CD cover image

"In Hatred's Flame" track listing:

1. In Hatred's Flame
2. Triumph by Fire
3. War Gods
4. Onward to Battle
5. Valor and Might
6. Axes of War
7. Glory on the Battlefield
8. Onslaught
9. Storms
10. Wrath of Vengeance
11. Fimbulwinter

Reviewed by on October 12, 2008

"Musically, “In Hatred’s Flame” is up tempo technical thrash and death metal that delivers continuous riffage throughout the entirety of the record."

Formed in 2006, California’s Exmortus plays a unique blend of thrash and death metal with traditional and progressive metal elements. My first impression of this album was a very good one. The excellent artwork gave me eager anticipation to diving into the music. Upon discovering that the art was done by artist Kris Verwimp, who’s also done work for bands such as Arch Enemy, Old Man’s Child, Immortal, ABSU and Marduk, I was not surprised. However, as has been the case with many albums I’ve encountered, looks may be very deceiving and must be taken with a grain of salt.

The lyrics are mostly centered around war and battles, predominately through the eyes of the warrior, with sights set on the future and the aftermath brought about by their sacrifice. The lyrics are nothing fancy or overly original, but they fit the style of the music well. The vocals are more of a raspy, death metal style with similarities to Randy Blythe coming through occasionally. Some of the higher pitched screams bring 3 Inches of Blood to mind, but not the cleaner shrill wails, the actual high screams.

Musically, “In Hatred’s Flame” is up tempo technical thrash and death metal that delivers continuous riffage throughout the entirety of the record. There are also numerous Maiden-esque harmonies and structure, “Valor and Might” being a prime example. The instrumental, “Axes of War,” sounds like it could have been a Yngwie Malmsteen piece. The rhythm section is solid throughout, especially in the air tight drumming. There have been criticisms that the music is perhaps too melodic. I would disagree with that statement, as many of the riffs are blazing fast and crushing. The many melodic and harmonic elements keep the music interesting and prevent it from becoming stale.

The soloing on the record worships Yngwie Malmsteen with constant sweeping arpeggios, lightning fast scale runs and neo-classical nature. The shredding maintains good rhythm and is very clean. However, as is with Yngwie, my complaint is that the sweeping arpeggios get old after a while. While I appreciate the technicality of that style of soloing, much of it is just sweeping to sweep. I enjoy well written/thought out solos with a melodic direction - using sweeping to accent the melody rather than the melody being lost amidst the redundant runs. Clear Dimebag Darrell influences reflect in the nuances, such as the stlyle of some of the harmonics used.

The band is very skilled and “In Hatred’s Flame” delivers some excellent modern thrash/death metal full of exciting and technical riffs that one can’t help but headbang to. Though the solos are very technical and well executed, the constant sweeping and speed patterns lose their effect and become less amusing as the album progresses. Exmortus is an interesting band to keep an eye on in the future, and I look forward to further releases from them.

Highs: The artwork, technicality and skill of the players. Many old school influences.

Lows: Little variety in the solos

Bottom line: Recommended for fans of technical thrash/death metal, Iron Maiden and Yngwie Malmsteen

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)