Exist - In Mirrors EP
Self Release
Jazzy Prog Metal
4 songs (29:09)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Jaime
Surprise of the month
Every so often I tend to review bands who have put up EPs or whole albums for free download, notably the likes of Cloudkicker, so in sticking with that here's another from American prog band Exist.

The four track EP consists of one standalone track and one three parter but even at that there's a good half hour's worth of material here. Very good infact. Opening track Writhe is like a heavier Cynic as it's infused with heaps of jazz influences that are melded together with the metal elements fantastically. The obvious things to notice are the guitars bouncing off each other and everything else and that staple prog sound: the fretless bass. But even going beyond that there is a massive amount of layers in there for each instrument, if you focus on the drums for example you can hear that there are a load of technical flourishes that are just loud enough to be noticed but aren't overpowering everything else, which could be applied to each instrument to a degree but the guitars are the main focal point here as shown by the massive guitar solo from about four minutes in until what is nearly the end of a nine and a half minute song but it never feels like it's dragging on. The vocals only really appear in the first part of the song, but they have a very clear, distinct growl to them allowing you to actually make out the lyrics which is always a plus.

The main component of the EP lies in the In Mirrors trilogy. The first part The Pine is a very laid back track that’d not be out of place in the repertoire of a 70’s prog band until the distorted guitars appear about four minutes in to create a sense of unease and instability that’s further augmented by the vocals gradually shifting from a clean to growling voice. This buildup leads into the middle part”So We Are” which begins with a huge sounding wall behind the guitars playing countermelodies off one another. The drums enter halfway through to a mass of noise and the vocals make it sound more like a song again. The only real point of the EP is with the clean vocals here, which are a bit whiny sounding but they’re only there for about half a minute at a time so it’s not really issue. The final section Equilibrium begins with a solo and isn’t as frantic as the rest of the tracks. The first solo does drag on a little bit too much but the rest of the instrumental is solid and is more jazz than metal for sure. The outro with the ambient noises and off kilter guitars creates a surreal, spacey effect that compliments the (almost) bass solo fantastically.

Without question the closest comparison to this band are Cynic, though Exist have a few more heavier parts and lack the vocoder element that split a few people. All in all if proggy stuff is your bag you’ll enjoy this. There’s no weak track here and from a first EP it’s an impressive start. It can be downloaded from the band's website here.
Killing Songs :
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