If you’re a metalhead who appreciates classical music, look no further than Exmortus and their fantastic new album Ride Forth, their second for the Prosthetic label. The Whittier, California-based band blends elaborate, classical-influenced guitar solos with double bass thrash drums, often proggy bass guitar and death metal vocals for a sound that is unique and compelling.
To tell you the truth, I’ve been getting a little bored with death metal lately. There are countless bands doing it and for every great one you discover you have to listen to five shitty ones before you find it. When I first listened to Ride Forth I thought I was in for more of the same generic stuff I’ve been so frustrated with, but it pleasantly surprised me when it turned out to be just the sort of album I was in the mood for, a mold-breaking beast, over-flowing with creativity.
One of the things that makes Ride Forth such a special album is the crisp, clean production, which gives the album a sound not unlike Metallica’s …And Justice For All. Imagine if that album had Yngwie Malmsteen style guitars and death metal vocals and that’s what Ride Forth tends to sound like, especially during its later tracks, like “For The Hoarde” and “Let Us Roam.” The music of openers “The Speed of the Strike” and “Relentless” is a bit more like recent Helloween featuring Malmsteen and a death metal vocalist. Suffice to say, it’s music you can bang your head to, but it just might have your head spinning involuntarily as you try to process the swarm of notes that guitarist/vocalist Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez and guitarist David Rivera hurl at you. If there’s an award for “metal album with the most notes per minute,” this album will win it this year for sure. Seriously though, it’s not that you need to follow every note. Rather, I think you’re just supposed to sit back and listen in awe of them. To that end, Ride Forth is fucking awesome.
Exmortus released a Beethoven cover as a teaser in celebration of the new album: