Exit - Face The Enemy - (8/10)
Published on March 23, 2014
Ah, Switzerland, the source of such wonderful contributions to the metal world as Celtic Frost and… and… Tryptikon? Ok, ok, I jest. Of course there’s also Thomas Gabriel Warrior/Fischer’s work with Hellhammer to consider…
Alright, but seriously, along with neutrality, ridiculously versatile pocketknives, protocols for “humane” war, facilitating the writing of and providing the setting for Frankenstein, secure criminal finance, what I’m told is some pretty nifty chocolate,1 and some pretty swankily-dressed guards; Switzerland has given rise to a few notable metal bands in its time, which, besides Mr. Fischer’s formidable catalog, include Samael, Sybreed, Mumakil, Krokus and, of course, Coroner. Well, based on their third album, Face The Enemy,2 you may just want to add Sursee’s Exit to that list.
Face The Enemy palpably erupts with “Greed” and is unrelenting in its discharge of fantastic, melodically-spiced death-thrash, which perhaps finds its closest kin in Adelade outfit and certified Chimaira-worshipers Truth Corroded by way of a considerable Gothenberg influence.
Indeed, while Face The Enemy’s sound is undoubtedly raw – with some sections, most notably the down-beat drumming and pugnacious vocal combination of “Greed,” sounding not unlike Napalm Death of all bands – its greatest asset is its superb use of melody. Also, a deceptively simple strength of the record is its workload distribution, often with the bass following along with the drums while guitarists Martin Haller and Beni Sax trade melodic blows,3 which distribution allows for a far more dynamic experience than the usual, modern fare of having every instrument playing the same thing in an attempt to create the thickest sound possible, to the point where all sense of balance is overdubbed out of existence.
There are those melodic sections, such as the clean-break toward the end of “The Brainless People” – otherwise, and which still remains, the highlight of the record – that are perhaps better rethought, but the tracks on Face The Enemy are otherwise, tighter than their homeland’s bank vaults.
(The song featured in the trailer is “The Brainless People,” you can listen to all the album’s songs on the band’s SoundCloud page)
Just because the success of Face The Enemy is particularly contingent on its melodic element does not mean to imply that Exit don’t now how to throw down. Both the title-track and “Upon all The Others” boast formidable breakdowns that are rendered far more effective in this sparing context than they perhaps otherwise would be and “Life Is Now” starts of with the sort of low-end pummeling that would make Chimaira proud before giving way to a more Killswitch Engage-style melodic-attack.
Exit keep Face The Enemy firmly rooted in the melodic death side of things, never quite giving way to anything that could definitively be called “groove metal,” but it is the superb balance of these elements and all those others that the band employ that makes Face The Enemy such a refreshing and rewarding experience; one that really should see Exit competing on the world stage.
1 I happen to loath the taste of chocolate to such a degree that the mere smell of it makes me nauseous, which disposition people seem to find utterly preposterous and, for some irreparable reason, personally affronting, which later inclination I can find no basis for, rational or otherwise, yet nonetheless persists.
2 I say third album because it’s factually accurate and all, but it may as well be the band’s debut as their previous two releases, Her Dark Passion and the deceptively-titled III (2006 and 2009 respectively)appear to be entirely inaccessible.
3 The bassist and drummer’s are names Stefi Haller and Andy Bieri (respective) if you really wanted to know.