Exiled - Blood sea 4/5

Reviewed: 6-1-07


1. Fire across the land
2. Fool's gold
3. Circle of violence
4. The kingdom has fallen
5. Medieval chant
6. Blood sea
7. United in bloodshed
8. They spoke to us
9. The world stood still

You'll have to indulge me, because the chance to write even a mildly favorable review about a band from Arizona is incredibly rare. Some strong Flotsam and Jetsam 20 years ago, decent Sacred Reich thrash, and 2 good Atrophy CDs from Tucson are some of the only claims to fame for metal in the desert. On top of that, in reviewing both this and Sacred Oath recently, it seems the only possible style lacking in the current deluge of melodic metal from overseas is a representation of American metal generally, and the surprisingly but undeniably different tone it normally sets. Exiled not only delivers a chance to write about decent American metal from Maricopa County, but it's a GREAT CD.

This is the 3rd effort from Exiled, and while similar in style to their first 2 CDs, is definitely a strong step up in terms of quality and execution all the way around. The band plays in a style of direct, aggressive melodic metal, with plenty of sharp, crunching guitar power, not quite speed metal or thrash in terms of tempo and melody, but always hinting towards that side of our musical world. There will certainly be an appeal to those who liked Cage's CD 'Darker than black', the 2nd and 3rd Iced Earth CDs, although this is by no means derivative of that style, and similarly should satisfy fans of classic Heathen, Metallica (circa 'Ride the lightning' and 'And justice for all'), early Metal Church, and other bands that have plenty of aggressive power to go with their melody. If you want melodic metal, but want something with an angrier snarl (without any modern drawbacks whatsoever) than Stratofall or Hellopsody, this will deliver.

The band succeeds on this CD in that style with a devastating sharp collection of riffs and leads from guitarist Erol Emric sharp, clear production, tight, effective and powerful songwriting. The leads are constantly and devastatingly enthralling, driving the CD onward with lean, efficient power, along with the taut rhythms from Mike Alexander on drums and Rob Erwin on bass. Vocalist John Cason is not an operatic power metal singer, but is more direct and limited, and nonetheless perfectly appropriate for what he does. For all the fiery power, the band comes up with catchy chorus after catchy chorus, from beginning to end on the CD. The lyrics tread the typical ground of good, thoughtful metal songwriting, whether fantasy tales like "Fire across the land" and "The kingdom has fallen", fascinating stories like "Blood sea" or "Fools gold", or more horrific real world material like "The world stood still", based upon the genocide of Bosniaks in 1995.

Overall, just a strong, sharp, effective American CD with plenty of power and melody mixed together. Highly recommended.




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