Exmortus – Ride Forth (Album Review)


Late in the Spring of 2015, Southern Californian band Exmortus officially announced they would be heading back to the studio to record their new album, Ride Forth. A follow-up to 2014’s Prosthetic Records debut, Slave to the Sword, their newest offering will in fact be their fourth overall studio album since their formation back in 2002. Rightfully deserving to be part of the Prosthetic Records family after years of resiliently showcasing their Thrash, Death, to Neo-Classical dynamic style, these blistering warriors consist of co-founding members Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez (vocals/guitar) and Mario Moreno (drums), along with David Rivera (guitar) and Michael Cosio (bass). Recording Ride Forth at Sharkbite Studios out in Oakland, California, along with returning producer Zack Ohren (Suffocation, Immolation), the record was teased back in September 2015 when the band released their single, “For The Horde.” Finally, on January 8th, just a few days after beginning their North American Tour with Enforcer, Warbringer, and Cauldron, Exmortus unleash the nine song journey to fans.

Viciously opening with “Speed of the Strike,” it hooks the listener with a lively Neo-Classical introduction mixed with Death Metal elements. The speedy guitar riffs carry on throughout the track, giving a slightly repetitive, but powerful progressive kickoff. Aggression continues with “Relentless,” where the tempo dips momentarily and engages the listener even further with its surprising brutal acceleration. With production quality that remains sharp, the incorporation of darkened grunts and dueling guitar riff exchanges are timed with a vengeance. Containing Thrash Metal elements, “For the Horde” kicks off instrumentally with gruff velocity blending influences from Metallica, Ludwig van Beethoven, and At the Gates.

Moving into the near halfway mark of Ride Forth, “Let Us Roam” is yet another heavy track escalated by thunderous drumming by Moreno that mixes with sweet guitar riffs of Gonzalez and Rivera. Not losing momentum, “Black Sails” holds a Gothic tone with its instrumental lead before the bass of Cosio complements the guitar shredding. This combination makes the cut a well-rounded offering, worthy of headbanging.

On an anthemic note, “Hymn of Hate” retains a few Power Metal elements as Gonzalez’s voice cuts in. With the introduction of his voice, the song morphs into a darkened musical landscape that will haunt the listener after the piercing classical guitar riff. Narrowing down to the final third of the album, instrumental track “Appassionata” is perhaps one of the strongest songs on the album. With its Neo-Classical tones, it is a fun track that displays a deep textured sound, which Exmortus easily commands.

Continuing with the concept of if Beethoven had a Metal band, “Death To Tyrants” presents an elegant medley where the percussion marches along while bewitching the listener. Once the introduction fades, Gonzalez’s blistering vocals returns with no remorse for an intense experience. Closing Ride Forth, Moreno’s drumming peaks in the ruthless final track of “Fire and Ice” before it moves directly into a Neo-Classical chant. Gonzalez’s morbid tone joins in as this final tune holds blood-thirsty guitar riffs and basslines as it fades out.

Exmortus’ Ride Forth proves to be an excellent Metal cocktail, mixing the mentioned ingredients of Death Metal, Thrash Metal, and Neo-Classical with bitters of Power Metal. With a good balance, the second half of the record is even more engaging as the whole piece is dark and brutal. CrypticRock.com gives Ride Forth a 4 out of 5 stars.

exmortus artwork

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Zenae ZukowskiAuthor posts

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