Oct 022012

From Exile are an Atlanta progressive metal band we’ve written about frequently at NCS. You can see a collection of all our previous features via this link. The last time we checked in with them, they had released a new, freely downloadable song called “A Desperate and Willing Enslavement” and a music video to go along with it. The video was a live performance of the band filmed at the studios of Digital Arts Entertainment Lab on the Georgia State University campus in downtown Atlanta. It was filmed as part of a video series focusing largely on Atlanta-based bands called indieATL (check out their web site here).

At the time of that last post, From Exile had disclosed that they recorded a second song as part of the indieATL session and planned to release it (along with a video of the performance) at some future date — and last night they did that. The new track is called “Martyr’s Gambit”, and man, is it cool.

As in the case of “A Desperate and Willing Enslavement”, it’s not as extreme as most of the music we cover at NCS, and all the singing is clean. But the song is heavy, intricate, and superbly rendered, and it features a powerful, oh-so-memorable chorus. The dual vocal harmonies are beautiful, as is the interplay between the triad of guitarists, the nimble bass player, and the hard-hitting drummer. And as the icing on the cake, the instrumental jam in the song’s back half is a galvanizing flow of compulsive energy. Continue reading »

May 212012

This morning our buddy DemiGodRaven delivered a short round-up of new songs or videos that struck his fancy, and it came at a time when I was trying to figure out how to publicize a new song and video that I had also recently discovered. So I decided to lead with the one I found and then finish with DGR’s contributions.

FROM EXILE: “A Desperate and Willing Enslavement” Video

From Exile is an Atlanta band we’ve written about frequently at NCS. You can see a collection of all our previous features via this link. Having said that, a year has passed since our last post about the band. That time, the occasion was an amazing music video (featuring guest guitarist Emil Werstler) for a song called “A Warm Place” that appeared on Just Like You Imagined, which was a collection of Nine Inch Nails songs covered by From Exile.

Now, a year later, I’m happy to report that we have a new From Exile song called “A Desperate and Willing Enslavement” and a new music video to go along with it. The video is a live performance of the band filmed at the studios of Digital Arts Entertainment Lab on the Georgia State University campus in downtown Atlanta. It was filmed as part of a video series focusing largely on Atlanta-based bands called indieATL (check out their web site here).

From Exile is a three-guitar outfit, and on this song guitarist Eric Guenther steps up to provide lead vocals. They’re all clean, but this qualifies as an Exception to the Rule around here, not only because the vocals are quite good but also because the song itself is so damned excellent — and you can download the live track for free, on top of everything else. Continue reading »

May 252011

This morning brought news of two brand new videos that hit the silver screens overnight, and neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stay us in the swift completion of our appointed rounds in delivering them to you. Both songs are amazing. Both videos are beautifully made. In other words, these are must-see offerings.

Two weeks ago we posted a feature on the very impressive new EP by Atlanta’s From Exile — a compilation of four covers from the extravagant songbook of Nine Inch Nails under the title Just Like You Imagined. The band have now released a video for one of those songs, the ephemeral, otherworldly “A Warm Place”. Of the four excellent songs on the EP, that purely instrumental piece made the deepest impression on us.

As we said in our review: “From Exile’s take on the song magnifies the rush and power of the sound, and a more flowing, reverberating guitar lead/solo by Emil Werstler (Daath) replaces the isolated keyboard notes of the original. Werstler’s contribution is a superb and all-too-brief piece of instrumental extravagance, thankfully reprised again near the song’s end.” The simplicity of the video suits the song — Werstler standing in an empty upper floor of a church, doing his thing, illuminated by the natural light filtering softly through stain-glassed windows.

The seventh full length album from Sweden’s Shining is called VII / Född Förlorare”, which in English means “Born Loser”. It was released this month on the band’s new label Spinefarm Records, and includes guest appearances from Erik Danielsson of Watain, Chris Amott of Arch Enemy, Peter Bjärgö of Arcana, and Nordman, who is one of Sweden’s biggest pop stars. Shining have now released an official video for the song called “Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel” — which is the first video the band have ever released in their 15-year history. The video is expertly filmed and edited, and it’s powerful. And the song — the song is simply fantastic. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

May 102011

Wasn’t so long ago that we had a pair of posts about cover songs (Andy’s special Synn Report on covers and my musings about the pros and cons of covers, prompted by Anachronaeon‘s cover of Iron Maiden). We followed that in short order with news of an awesome-looking cover album by Dying Fetus (here). Seems to be the season for covers, because late yesterday we got word about an EP by Atlanta’s From Exile that we’ve been waiting for, which is devoted to covers of four songs by Nine Inch Nails. It’s called Just Like You Imagined and it’s now available for free download in mp3 or FLAC. We wasted no time listening last night.

So, let’s first review what we discussed in those previous posts and in the accompanying comments about covers: (1) they fail more often than they succeed; (2) there’s no terribly good reason to listen to a cover if it’s just a re-tread of the original, except perhaps for a novelty factor when the normal musical styles of the original and the cover band are poles apart; and (3) the best covers turn the original songs into something new and different, re-sculpting them into new works that stand on their own through variation of the original — but without completely losing connection with the source.

All four of From Exile’s covers succeed, in spades. In both subtle and dramatic ways, depending on the song, they’ve creatively re-shaped the NIN songs, producing music that’s more guitar-driven and more metal. They’ve preserved the spirit of the originals, yet succeeded in adding something of their own, and the results are wonderfully appealing. After the jump, we’ll explore the changes in a bit more detail and juxtapose the originals and the covers for your listening pleasure. Continue reading »

Nov 232010

While I was away on vacation I didn’t completely neglect what was happening in the world of metal, but I confess I didn’t spend the kind of time I usually spend keeping up on current developments. So over the weekend I did my best to catch up. It was kind of like swimming against a flood tide. It’s amazing how much happens on a daily basis. Of course, I find that a lot of the bulletins, press releases, and blurbs that fill up the likes of Blabbermouth and band pages on Facebook and MySpace are pretty uninteresting.

But even ignoring the boring and utterly useless streams of bullshit that pass for metal news much of the time, I still found all sorts of happenings over the last 12 days that were quite interesting, and even exciting — the kind of occurrences we would have written about on this site if we’d been able to stay on top of our game. The downside of writing about them now is that for many of you, it will be old news. But what the fuck. We’re going to write about some of those items anyway, stale though they may be. Some things still taste pretty good even when they’re beyond their sell-by date. And besides, maybe some of you missed them, just like I did while I was off staring at clouds.

It may take a couple or three posts to catch up, but there’s no time like the present to get started. So today we’ve got a collection of items about Animals As Leaders, From ExileAfter the Burial, and I Declare War. That’s what you’ll find after the jump, along with some music videos . . . Continue reading »

Mar 092010

Cerebral Metalhead is a blog we like to visit because it often turns us on to new music we don’t encounter elsewhere and because the album reviews are so well-written. On our latest visit, we read a glowing review of a self-released album called Monolith by an unsigned Atlanta prog-metal band named From Exile. So we quickly got the album, and we gotta agree — this is an amazing piece of work, and we feel compelled to help spread the word.

At its core, From Exile are two very talented guitarists — Eric Guenther and Ben Wetzelberger. On Monolith, they are joined on drums by the ever-awesome Kevin Talley from Daath. And the Daath connection doesn’t stop there. Eyal Levi co-produced the album with Guenther, handled the mixing chores, and provided a guest guitar solo on a song called “In the Faded Silence.” And the Daath connection still doesn’t stop there: Guitarist extraordinaire Emil Werstler added another guest guitar solo on “Apparition.”

Basically, with magnificent help from Talley’s accomplished drumwork, Monolith is a 32-minute treatise on guitar metal. If you found yourself on Pandora with nothing but an electric guitar and you were trying to explain it to one of those blue Na’vi, we imagine the conversation would go something like this: “Yeah, that neural thing you got on the end of your braid is pretty cool, but this thing is a fuckin’ electric guitar, and if you wanna know all the sounds it can make, slot your braid into my iPod and listen to Monolith.” (read more after the jump, and listen to a track . . .) Continue reading »