When talking about French technical death metal, the absolute top of the list is Gorod, but I think there is an argument to be made for Exocrine to be right there with them.

The Bordeuax band has been on an absolute tear since 2018’s Molten Giant, which was somehow their third album already. Then with 2002s Hybrid Suns, the band expanded on Maelstrom’s (2020) more experimental and adventurous elements to stunning effect.

And now with the jump from long-time label Unique Leader to Season of Mist, Exocrine has wasted no time in releasing album number 6, and continues the run of excellence with a worthy and expected follow-up to Hybrid Suns.

Top-notch technical death metal is still the backbone, with a little more girth and heft than Gorod, and slightly less playful, but still with some little experimental flourishes here and there (i.e trumpets in opener “Presage/ Legend”), some synths in “Eidolon” and “Warlock”, the orchestra that starts standout “By the Light of the Pyre” and quirky bonus CD track “Cryogenisation”.

That said, the band seems to have reigned those moments in just a little from Hybrid Suns (for example the female vocals in “Dying Light” or the full on orchestration of “Horns and “Blast”) and go for the throat a little harder as Molten Giant did as Legend delivers heaps of killer,  blasting sweeps and time changes as heard on “Life”, “The Altar of War”, “Dust in the Naught”, “Dragon” and “The Oath”

That all said while Legend will no doubt be one of the year’s best tech death records, I kind of miss the band’s slightly unhinged and unpredictable bursts of creativity from Maelstrom and Hybrid Suns. They are here but shortlived and not quite as ambitious or striking, but make no mistake, Exocrine will be the very cream of the tech death crop for 2024.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 29th, 2024


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