Exmortus is a band known for their ferocious technicality and strong heavy metal sound. Their music is what you would want playing as you ride through a bloody battlefield swinging your axe and chopping off some heads. The band’s new album, “The Sound of Steel,” is another savage sounding release of shredding, headbanging and axe swinging metal music.
“The Sound of Steel,” is the band’s fifth full-length album to date and is very much a continuation of what fans heard on, “Slave to the Sword,” and “Ride Forth,” which are the bands last two full-length releases. I honestly felt the band really started to establish themselves after the release of, “Slave to the Sword.” Around the time that album came out I saw them live and was blown away by their passion and musicianship. They have always been a hard working band and over the years they keep the pedal down by constantly touring. I think the new music is exactly what made me enjoy the previous releases and once again presents a heavy sound that features some brilliant musicianship.
Singer/guitarist and founding member, Conan Gonzales is the only returning member on this album, so I was interested to hear how the band would sound after losing three out of the four members featured on the last two releases. I do believe Conan found some talented musicians to play on this new album and I hope they stick around for a bit. On bass Phillip Nunez does a solid job laying down some powerful bass lines, while Carlos Cruz is a monster behind the kit. Handling the second guitar duties, I think Chase Becker provides some exceptional guitar parts and adds to the band’s vicious thrash sound.
In terms of songwriting, the band delivers plenty of battle themed hymns of heavy metal might. The opening song, “Make Haste,” is a fearsome strike of metal force to the ears with an intense thrash like composition. Conan’s vocals compliment the music quite well and the song’s overall production quality is rather impressive. I would say the song gets the job done as an opening track. Is this something new and ground breaking? Not really, however, Exmortus has found their niche and their sound and playing style is very consistent. The second track off the album, “Feast of Flesh,” really caught my attention, especially since the riffs and delivery of the music is extremely aggressive. Also, the lead guitar playing is exceptionally well done and does not go off into unnecessary directions by just shredding random notes without any thought.
Other songs that stand out are, “Into the Maw of Hell,” “Strength and Honor,” and “Riders of Doom.” The music is extremely well written and you are able to hear the strong heavy metal talents each member possesses during these songs. The instrumental song on this album, “A Minor Instrumental,” is yet another phenomenal instrumental track by this band and probably my favorite song off the album. Exmortus is sort of known in the metal world for coming up with some amazing instrumental pieces and their cover of, “Moonlight Sonata (Act 3),” is one song that I still reference as a great heavy metal instrumental piece.
In the end, I do believe fans of Exmortus will be pleased with how this album turned out. I do think the band’s lyrical content and themes are nothing new from what I have already heard on previous albums, but it happens to work well with their style of metal, so I can't complain too much. If you are looking for consistency, I do find Exmortus to be a band that shall deliver a solid shield smashing and skull crushing release from beginning to end. Plus, you can count on these guys to tour relentlessly when the new album drops. Just like barbarian hordes, Exmortus will ride forth from town to town unleashing heavy metal chaos leaving no hipsters alive…Okay, maybe that is a bit extreme, but this is heavy metal people!
Check out the video for "Feast of Flesh" below: