REVIEW: Exotype – ‘Exotype’

Exotype hails from Florida and is a five-piece, progressive metal band. They have recently debut their self-titled album that was released on October 7th. This band draws its influences from various metal community genres such as nu metal and electronica metal. It is an impressive meshing of these two genres that leaves its listeners tapping their toes and banging their heads in the air to its wide varied electronic tempos and low growling tunes of guitars.

The first song off the album is “Stand Up,” which provides a solid, hard-hitting opening. The low tuning with electronic pads makes for nice mesh. The vocals have their own uniqueness to them, where he isn’t pushing to go super high like other singers, but goes very naturally into a mid-range, very nostalgic of the heavier bands that came out in the earlier 2000s. The electronics aren’t overdone and they are used properly as an effect on the overall sound. The build at the end into the last breakdown is very effective, the filter drop out just before the breakdown was perfectly executed. The last breakdown itself is perfectly heavy but picks back up and transitions into the final chorus perfectly. It’s nice to hear a song end on a chorus and not a breakdown, like so many bands in this genre do. It is songwriting 101; simple and effective.

“Wide Awake” is a favorite track due to the change in emotion that hits you harder than a cannon ball to the face. The electronic opening starts off very spacious and then BOOM. The force of the change is hard hitting and aggressive. The higher screams caught me off guard and it was a great break from the lows. The electronics really shine in this song, getting lead parts over heavy instrumentals and provided some great glitching. The chorus contains a great melody and the higher notes that the singer pushes sounded huge and was perfectly done. The back and forth from upbeat and hook-driven chorus to heavy verses/breakdowns ebbs and flows perfectly. This sounds like a band with years of experience, not a debut. This reminds me of Woe, Is Me’s first effort, but more developed, the vocals are not in Tyler’s high range but it meshes much better as a unit.

“For Those Afraid to Speak” went straight to the heavy, a great way to come out of the dubstep ending song before it, “Red Pulse.” This track is very similar to the current trends in heavier music. The verse sounds a lot like something that would come from Issues, however the vocals sound better developed and more natural. The singing chorus works here, you would think it wouldn’t with how heavy the verses are, but the songwriting once again stands out, as does the vocalist’s ability to use his voice as a bridge. The spoken-word parts that periodically make their way in for one-two bars are creepy, very Marilyn Mason-esque. It introduces a strange twist, but something unique and intriguing to say the least. It is choruses like this that make me miss the days of the non-falsetto singers. Having a band with one person screaming and one singing is good, but sometimes having one person that could handle all duties makes a song flow so much better.

“Relentless” is a song that screams producer, Joey Sturgis’ touch. Sturgis is noted for his take on musical influences from the 80s and 90s, which lyrically come into play. The clean guitar opening suggests ballad, the soft electronic drums that come in after solidify the thought. Good placement for it, then the full band comes in with the upbeat part was surprising, but works. The lyrics and vocal patters are still in the ballad format, which makes for a great modern-take on the ballad single that was popular in the 80’s and 90s. This was a very nice surprise and I truthfully do not know of a band that was so daring to cross the heavy genre with a ballad concept. It was very well done and this could very easily be a massive second single on a record. The vocals are especially impressive here, for they contain a lot of raw emotion.

Overall, Exotype’s first LP is one hell of a way to come into the music scene. Mixing in two genres such as nu metal and electronica are risky, but they managed to pull it off, and well. It’s great for fans of both metal and wanting something a little more edgy to move your feet to. The live performances should be an interesting watch, as you would have fans of both genres in attendance. Exotype is an album that will be gaining attention for its genre twist, intricate instrumental work and well-written song writing. Not to mention, the catchy vocals in both screaming and singing. I’d add it to your list of fall records to listen to.

By Heather Glock