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Exumer-The Raging Tides


Back in 2009, Teutonic thrash metal ensemble Exumer returned to action after an almost two-decade hiatus. Even in the 80s they didn’t really emerge from the underground recesses of their admittedly great first two releases, so it’s beyond any surprise that they’re still trawling the depths of thrash metal’s forgotten vaults for any notice from the countless numbers of metalheads out there today. That said, Exumer never really gave up trying to do things their own way, and they proved that undeniably with 2012’s “Fire & Damnation”. Essentially, 2016’s “The Raging Tides” shows Exumer trying to remind us all that they never actually left, nor did they succeed in becoming a particularly memorable act in the world of Teutonic thrash.

There’s one reason why “The Raging Tides” won’t attract any more newcomers, and it’s because of a clear lack of originality. Essentially, that’s the album’s only flaw, aside from the obvious lacklustre nature of the majority of the record. Yet what manages to keep “The Raging Tides” above average is how much vigour and menace Exumer-as a band, not a mere “five piece”-inject into the songwriting overall. Indeed, this is more obvious in the album’s natural highlights-the opening title track, ‘Brand of Evil’ and notably ‘Sinister Souls’-leaving the rest of the album to try and catch up, but ultimately fail as a result. The instrumentation is choppy and solid, rhythms increasingly faster during the transition from verse to chorus, and the undeniably excellent solo sections of the title track and ‘Sinister Souls’ respectively offer some promise, if not a lot. In fact, the solo work is what makes these songs stand out from the pack, even if the surrounding “fat” replaces the filler material inherent throughout the record. Of course it has to be said, what really drags this record down is Mem von Stein’s nasally vocal delivery. However, that’s only a matter of personal preference, because considering the nature of thrash metal’s more predictable, simplistic side, such vocal delivery doesn’t really matter in the long run. Yet it also doesn’t help when songs like ‘Catatonic’ and ‘Shadow Walker’ feel doggedly tired, so much so that it’s hard not to hover your finger over the skip button. The worst songs on “The Raging Tides” also suffer from a clear lack of what makes the best songs the best: solos, and each member delivering a strangely heaped amount of youthful exuberance.

This is essentially where the album struggles to pop over an above average quality, because at the end of the day, what we’re hearing is around 15 excellent minutes of an overall slightly lacklustre 36-minute effort. Virtually half the album makes you think of a band enjoying what they do, whereas the other simply gives the impression the band members are trying their best to complete a record’s running time limit. Exumer showed with “Fire and Damnation” that despite still having some vigour in their instrumental performance, the clear lack of originality severely slowed the creative pace down. “The Raging Tides” demonstrates this furthermore, at an unfortunately larger rate.

Released: January 29th, 2016.

2.7/5

  1. The Raging Tides
  2. Brand of Evil
  3. Catatonic
  4. Sacred Defense
  5. Welcome to Hellfire
  6. Sinister Souls
  7. Shadow Walker
  8. There Will Always Be Blood
  9. Dark Reflections
  10. Death Factory
  11. Forever My Queen
  12. Hostage to Heaven

Bandpage/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/exumerofficial/?fref=ts

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