Engulfed In the Maelstrom: An Exocrine Album Review
For the last 7 years, a storm has been brewing in the southwestern region of France. One which should be better known and feared for its potential to devastate and envelope the lands. That storm’s nomenclature is best known as Exocrine and after 7 years of existence offer their fourth studio effort entitled Maelstrom.
I hadn’t given the band much of a chance throughout the years but I had heard them mentioned here and there. So after hearing Maelstrom for the first time I had to go back through the discography to better compare and contrast their work. Unreal Existence and Ascension left some things to be desired in terms of mix quality. The records were both overall enjoyable and had some pretty solid riffs and I found the jazz fusion elements to be interesting but I felt some elements weren’t executed quite as well as they could have been. Molten Giant certainly stood out amongst the prior three albums and seems to be a favorite amongst fans. Of course rightly so, as it is very tangible how much the band has refined and expanded upon the elements portrayed in the composition. Having gone through the catalogue, I had a better idea of what the band was about and where they were in their “evolutionary path” so-to-speak. On top of that, I had no idea essentially everything is DIY; self-produced. A bit of info lead guitarist Sylvain was kind enough to disclose. This definitely put Maelstrom into a much brighter perspective.
Maelstrom immediately wakes you up with an explosive burst from the title track’s intro. Instrumentally the band’s deathcore and jazz fusion elements have become even more palpable with the addition of 8-string guitars while retaining influence from some of France’s most well known names such as Gorod and Benighted. The title track at this point sums up the overall the takeaway of the album’s sound: heavier than an anchor plunging to the bottom and fast like the storm winds reaching 280 + bpm. There are also plenty of smaller, minute tidbits to be discovered along the way. Such as the addition of trumpet and other brass sections. Something else that stood out to me came from the beginning riff to Abyssal Flesh. Increasing the intensity of the noise gate to add a more glitchy aspect to guitars was an interesting choice in my opinion. Out of the entire track-listing I found my absolute favorite to be The Chosen One. That swing riff should be pissing musicians off with how sick that transition was.
Sonically the maturity in the production is very apparent. As was mentioned previously, band takes production into their own hands. Going into it I set my expectations a bit too high and became to critical of the mix at first listen. I see where I fumbled because this record juxtaposed with the band’s previous efforts is absolutely fantastic. Drums, though thin in the low end, cut through clear and precise. Guitars are full and mean in the low end and shine during the various tapping sections, bass could come up just a bit. Vocally the band maintains that brutal guttural rasp not too unlike that of Benighted front-man Julien Truchan. Though we definitely hear more diversity with the inclusion of a clean vocal approach in certain songs.
Maelstrom is a great record as a whole. The band continues to improve upon itself in more ways than one and even after four albums deep, Exocrine has plenty more potential to realize in the coming days. To put it into numbers, I would have to rank Maelstrom a solid 8.5/10. Go show these killer dudes some love by following up on their social media and buying some merch!