REVIEW: Exalt – ‘Pale Light’

A blended crossover of hardcore elements and doom-filled ambiance, Ontario-based Metalcore suit Exalt unleashes a reign of relentless fury and raw chaos with their second full-length record, Pale Light, released through New Damage Records.

With both its lulling yet unsettling moments and its full-force, fast-paced rage, Pale Light blows in and out like a temperamental storm, clocking in at just over thirty minutes.  Lyrically, the album addresses themes of perish and decay, as quickly introduced in opening track “Death is a Road,” which echoes an ominous guitar riff that returns once more in closing track, “Fear is the Hand,” and a drum beat that climbs from persistently patient and steady into the fervent energy of “Forsaken.”

Frontman Tyler Brand effectively transitions between a hardcore style of strained shouting and more traditional metal growls, most notably executed in “Feed” which features a mean, static-coated guitar riff that blends cohesively into pounding jungle drums, and single “Greying,” where his vocals create the sense of desperation, vehemently declaring “I am nothing but weak, nothing but weak,” before a chugging breakdown.  “Pale light,” trickles in with eerie soundscapes, then quickly crashes down with grand doom and murderous growls.

Normally I don’t comment on the album art, but something about the cover of Pale Light really sucks me in.  If the album art alone can suggest anything about the content of the album, the ambiguous man standing off in the distance of the woods with a torch certainly contributes to the simple yet chilling, grotesque vibe the record portrays, as the overall feel of the record has a touch of darkness and loneliness without the excess flashiness of gore and brutality most metal albums possess.  The image is subtle yet impossible to ignore, which compliments the atmosphere of the haunting yet merciless music.

Driving a dark energy that paces itself thematically throughout, Pale Light will entrance listeners with a foreboding soundtrack sure to haunt long after the first listen.