How does an instrumental band speak to a listener? Through melancholic melodies and energetic rhythms, dense harmonies, starbursts of noise and breathless interludes. Through organic music that speaks of duality and plurality, of fleeting ideas and ephemeral moments, unexpected climaxes and explosive epiphanies – emotions from life captured in sound. That, in a nutshell, is Exivious, an instrumental quartet that channels a truly unique voice within the contemporary music scene. Read more on Last.fm
Fusion Metal might be a tough term to get used to but the genre tackles an experimental instrumental point which many progressive bands aim for and few really put out a unique effort to call their own. While this band’s work is similar to other famous progressive bands such as Cynic for example (Exivious do have two Cynic members already), there’s no denying that they have their own touch to these complex yet tasteful songs.
The band also surprised me with their attitude towards music when they chose to independently release their record, to stream the whole album on their Myspace page and to release their albums which are also unique (each single copy comes with its own artwork!). And finally concerning this lineup, I’ve never seen such excellent musicianship (notice that the band improvises alot) from the ridiculous accurate drumming by Stef Broks to the godlike basslines of Robin and the technicality of Tymon and Michel’s riffings and solos!
- Band Members
Tymon (Cynic) – Guitar
Michel Nienhuis (ex-Sengaia) – Guitar
Robin Zielhorst (Cynic) – Bass
Stef Broks (Textures) – Drums
The importance of reviews got to me while I was surfing the net ‘hunting’ for new bands, and stumbled upon such press reviews:
“Fusion, jazz, rock, metal, those labels are rather obsolete in the case of Exivious. The music tells a story of its own with mesmerizing beauty and intense depth.”
“This is something new, something unique, it pushes the envelope of the music scene in general.”
In my opinion, these should get any music fan to at least consider giving the band a listen… Now my review will mainly direct you to know which songs to listen to before others, in order to have an impressive first impression of the material presented, since someone with a fairly low knowledge of complex music will probably hit the stop button after a minute or so.
Before I go into that, you should check out this official Album Preview video that the band posted online. Trust me it is worth your click!
Wow right? Now I’ll tell you which songs on the album fit the Fusion listener and which songs fit the Metal-head trying to get into this genre without previous knowledge of jazz or fusion whatsoever.
Ripple of A Tear is driven by a sinister chord and monstrous frettless basslines! Then comes the pure jazz fusion solo and the transition from Fusion to Metal and vice versa is flawless! Just listen to that fretless bass solo over that jazzy improvised beat by Stef. This song is a killer, mood-building wise, and structure wise. Metal has never been so related to jazz fusion in a such a way!
All that Surrounds Part 1 and Part 2 are to be avoided here if you’re a metal fan wanting to get into this band. These are experimental and atmospheric songs with no metal riffs nor drumming whatsoever. These are pure spacey moods and are recommended for fans of ambient and atmospheric only.
Rating: 7/10, 7/10
Waves of Thought is recommended for Fusion fans alike (crushing solos and patterns) and for fans of experimental instrumental metal (Cynic fans are pretty welcomed to join here). The song has some atmospheric parts, some fusion inspired parts, all contained within this Metal surrounding that shapes the music as it goes.
Time and Its Changes reminds me of Cynic with complex patterns with layers of odd melody and atmosphere. I wouldn’t recommend this song to a first time listener, since it doesn’t have very ‘special’ moments where one would ‘WOW” at them. Still, I really love the flow of this song, it just seems so effortless and by the time it’s over, 5 minutes have gone by in an heartbeat. That’s the beauty of such music, you really get into the mood and lose track of the ‘milestones’ that a normal song would be forced to reach (chorus, solo, chours, etc).
Asurim starts off with an evil mood and that unmistakable fretless sound along these monstrous chords. I love the effect that the guitarist is using in the solo, gives the song a very weird spacey feel to compliment it’s evilness. This song is recommended for metalheads taking their very first steps into the jazz fusion zone, an extremely careful step that ought to be!
Embrace the Unknown features Paul Masvidal (Cynic) on the 2nd solo, and I didn’t need that to decide that this song is one of my favorites on the album. Just check out these riffs that both guitarists exchange with major assistance from the rhythm department. These guys are really at the top of their game and this band is the best in the genre, hands down. Highly recommended for jazz fusion listeners and for metalheads alike!
The Path alternates between the atmospheric parts and the metal parts, coming together with a structure that is really astonishing and again seems so effortless for the band to have these remarkable transitions and still have a valid and catchy song structure!
An Elusive Need is again a very impressive track since it’s very mellow in structure and catchy in melody. Still, I wouldn’t recommend hearing this song prior to other songs on the album. Again, a first time listener needs to be hooked first, then later he’ll enjoy the styling around these various obvious musical hooks.
Enjoy streaming the album in its entirety on the band’s official site and Myspace page indicated below!