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Despite Exile - "Re-Evolve" (CD/EP)

Despite Exile - "Re-Evolve" CD/EP cover image

"Re-Evolve" track listing:

1. Oscillate (4:26)
2. Perfection Neutralized (3:13)
3. Mechanical (4:08)

Reviewed by on June 20, 2012

"'Re-Evolve' is a flimsy attempt to jump into one of the more popular styles of contemporary metal."

From the shores of Italy comes Despite Exile, a band that loves their Meshuggah and Periphery like they are the holy grail. Their second EP, “Re-Evolve,” has the band playing “djent,” that make-believe genre that has caught on like a leper-stricken man in a public pool. Listeners can expect crafty guitar harmonies that never break into solos, chugging and off-timed rhythms that makes technical metal fans swoon, and a drenching sound that is all heavy, all the time. It’s nothing that dozens of others are doing at this moment in time, but Despite Exile doesn’t completely fall flat with their attempt.

With only three songs, Despite Exile only has space on “Re-Evolve” to make their intentions clear. The band is aggressive throughout the EP, though the first two songs don’t come out as stimulating. The riffs shoot down from every corner of “Oscillate,” though it only takes about three seconds for the first breakdown to materialize. There are some impressive guitar techniques used, though these songs have a “been there, done that” aura that makes for a uninspiring showing.

The lone song to make an impression is closer “Mechanical.” While it’s conceptually similar to the other two tracks, there seems to be more underneath the surface. With an ambitious direction, and some fantastic duel guitar harmonies, it feels like a small piece of something larger in mind. “Mechanical” is the highlight of the “Re-Evolve” EP by a hefty margin. If the band was to go ahead in this direction on future releases, they may have something going for them.

“Re-Evolve” is a flimsy attempt to jump into one of the more popular styles of contemporary metal. The band members are not hacks, employing their technical skills to have a few “wow” moments sprinkled around. Their songwriting isn’t bad either, and it’s not like the EP is a hassle to get through. Fans of the bands mentioned earlier will be satisfied by “Re-Evolve,” but even with this being less than 12 minutes long, it feels like it’s enough. Hopefully, if they do release a full-length, it will take way longer than that to match the same feeling.

Highs: Few nice technical moments, "Mechanical" stands out as an effective closer, members are competent musicians

Lows: Very "been there, done that," doesn't leave enough of an impression to want more, average breakdowns

Bottom line: An average EP that will appeal to fans of "djent" music.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 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)