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Excrecor - "Synchronicity" (CD/EP)

Excrecor - "Synchronicity" CD/EP cover image

"Synchronicity" track listing:

1. Parallel Harmonic Synchronicity 04:52
2. Attrition 07:19
3. Eridanus 06:11
4. The Siren 06:46

Reviewed by on October 6, 2010

"the band has nonetheless managed to offer a tantalizing sample of what can be expected from a full length that is planned to be released late in 2010."

“Synchronicity” is the debut EP from New Hampshire progressive metal act Excrecor, which is somewhat surprising given that the band was founded a decade ago. Citing the usual lineup changes for the lack of output, the band has nonetheless managed to offer a tantalizing sample of what can be expected from a full length that is planned to be released late in 2010. Excrecor’s sound is a mix of Death’s latter work, Demilich, prog-era Pestilence, and the melodious leads of the Amott brothers or In Flames. It could definitely be classified as progressive death metal, with three of the four songs over the six minute mark, and one nudging just over seven minutes, but that need not scare off the old school purists, as it is minus the mind bending time signature shifts and pretentious fret board geometry lessons that so often turn such releases into an extended instructional DVD.

Album opener “Parallel Harmonic Synchronicity” sets the tone for the EP nicely, with a ripping intro scale that becomes the songs main hook later on, and a furious howl that immediately showcases the band’s infectious intentions. The song almost has a militaristic feel to it, like the anthem for a death march. It’s one of those rare metal tracks that can actually get stuck in your head—both memorable and catchy.

From there the EP continues along those same lines, with all the songs exhibiting prog metal riffs that can stick to the synapses. The remaining tracks, “Attrition,” “Eridanus,” and closer “The Siren,” all manage to pull out moments where you can picture a crowd of tens of thousands at a European festival singing the main riff back to the band. The dark keyboard intro to the menacing “Eridanus” reaffirms the overall blackened atmosphere of the album, which the band manages to develop intensely in the space of just four songs.

Excrecor knows how to keep things accessible with simplistic hooks on songs that are more mid-paced, with an emphasis on melody, and the brutality mostly coming by way of the vocals and a few moderate blasts. It’s a mix of beauty and brutality; the brutal and the emotionally visceral. Harmonic guitar leads, clean guitar and keyboard intros, and underlying keyboard atmospherics provide variation, and the solos within the songs aren’t too busy. In other words, they don’t draw focus from the overall song structure. They’re skillful, no doubt, but not distracting, and were clearly composed to fit within the songs and serve as melodic extensions of the hooks rather than to be ostentatious displays of showmanship.

As with all things prog, musicians walk a razor wire between showcasing their musicianship and writing songs that can truly envelop the listener. On “Synchronicity,” Excrecor has shown a brief glimpse of their potential to walk confidently along the blade’s edge.

Highs: Plenty of memorable riffs; progressive, but not too dense.

Lows: It would be nice to see a bit more variation in style.

Bottom line: This EP shows that Excrecor is on the brink of death prog mastery.

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)