Just missed the release date for this one, for which I apologise to the lovely Steph who looks after the band’s PR. Please, guys – my fault. She did everything to kick my arse into gear!
Exist Immortal first caught my ear a year or so ago when they were touring with the sadly departed Ravenface. I liked what I heard enough to make them a Band of the Day at the time. Darkness of an Age was released last year, but earlier this week they re-released it as a Deluxe Edition with a smattering of extra tracks.
The band seem to be oft-labelled as progressive, but I hear them as more a melodic death act. There’s certainly an element of the former in there, but the mixture of harsh/clean vocals and overall tone make me go “melodic death”. Whatever pigeonhole you want to chuck them in, this is a damn fine album.
Before I go any further, let me address one thing. “Hey,” say some people, “I supported the band from the off and bought the original album. Now they’ve extended it rather than releasing an EP! I have to go and buy the thing again for the new songs! GRR!”
No you don’t.
Exist Immortal are lovely and have released the four new songs as free downloads on their bandcamp page. You can buy the original ten, as you always could, for £6 then grab the other four separately. Everyone wins. I think this is a wonderful way of thanking fans who’ve been loyal since the off while encouraging new ones to buy the whole album.
As I said, the initial ten tracks are the same. No reworkings or edits, and that’s fine. It’s a great collection of angry, black yet catchy music. Soaring segments mixed with pounding, evil riffs that make you want to smash your fists into the floor and tell life it can just fuck off.
The four new songs consist of “Delirium”, “The Void”, “Fractured” (featuring ex-BotD Nexilva‘s Gaz King) and “Insanity Project pt.2” and the band seem to have used the extra year to write four songs with wildly different styles. This is a good thing.
“Delerium” is probably the closest to the heavy material from the original album. Quite hardcore in tone with some great, though still understated, cleaner segments and a great chorus that could have arms waving side-to-side in a live setting. “The Void” was released as a video before the album came out (and you can see it below) and is a belter; probably overall the best of the four new songs.
“Fractured” I find to be the more… experimental or prog-y of the songs and, as such, is the one I’m least keen on. There are just too many sounds with various tempo changes to get my head around in places. It’s not bad, just the weakest (IMHO) of the new ones.
New album-closer “Insanity Project pt. 2” does a great job of rounding things up. Like the first track from the original album, “Insanity Project”, it starts very slow and quiet… and pretty much stays there. I hope I won’t get lynched for saying this, but there are shades of Linkin Park throughout with the heavy use of electronica. This is nice, dark, atmospheric piece and – as I said earlier – I think the band have treated these new songs as an opportunity to experiment.
Given the bargain price of the download version and the fact there are now some songs to “try before you buy”, effectively, Darkness of an Age is definitely one you should be checking out.