Exhausted Prayer
Looks Down in the Gathering Shadow

Comprised of the band’s 2005 EP of the same name and 2002’s What Completely is Not EP, both re-mastered for this re-release, the ‘debut’ album from LA’s Exhausted Prayer is a adventurous foray into genre mixing resulting in a solid, if over ambitious affair that shows tons of promise.

With a big dash of Opeth, a large hint of Emperor, a slice of progressive/technical death metal and a very small slice of expreimental/ambient black metal (read” a few acoustic/droning passages), the litany of influences that cascade from each song here is impressive, though they sometimes collide with a little to much busy-ness. (BTW Dwell Records-throwing out Mogwai, Isis and Don Cab on the press sheet is criminally bad advertising here).

The tracks that have a little more blackened urgency rather than proggy/tech death metal, such as opener “Now Grief” and “Death of Logic”, though still licked with Opeth-ian light dark textures (musically not vocally), seem to be the tracks with better staying power and less obviously influenced than some of the other more Opeth-ish tracks (“The Noble Lie”, “In The Wake of Emptiness”) or the slightly too cluttered tracks (“Logic of Death”, “Far From April’s Sun”). The vocals are a bit odd, comprising on mainly a black metal/melodic death metal screech, but then slightly unconvincing, brutal death metal grunts will randomly appear adding to the already battling elements.

When they are ‘on’, (like “Now Grief”, the Lykathea Aflame-ish opening salvo of “The Meaninglessness and Futility of Existence”, “A Good Walk Spoiled”or the wordy “The Unwavering Bludgeoning of a Mind by Angst Arising From an Encounter in the Void”) Exhausted Prayer are most certainly on and look to be a underground gem in the making, but they also have some overly ambitious ‘off’ moments where they seem to be either overstepping their Opeth roots or simply trying to inject to much into one song bordering on pretentiousness.

Either way, I’ll be keeping an eye on this band as this material is 2 and 5 years old so I wonder how much they have improved over the last few years. If they have, watch out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 14th, 2007

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