Exit Ten

Give Me Infinity

Written by: TL on 20/09/2011 01:19:50

It's been three years since Exit Ten released their debut album "Remember The Day", and while it gathered moderate amounts of attention back then, I think the band has slid to the backs of the heads of many by now. That's why I was caught halfway surprised when I learned of the impending release of the British quintet's sophomore "Give Me Infinity", which is an embodiment of considerably upped ambitions on behalf of the band. For instance, you might remember them as a clean-yet-dark, melodic metalcore band, fronted by a rather unique singer in Ryan Redman - but while that last part may still be true, especially the part about the 'metalcore' is somewhat out the window.

Instead, getting a feel of "Give Me Infinity" starts with track two, the single "Curtain Call". It's not so much because opener "Life" is a bad song, but for me at least, the solid, straightforward rocker is consistently forgotten as soon as the first notes of "Curtain Call" replaces it. The song opens with seriously muscular riffage and Redman doing his best to provide vocals that makes the band sound like Tool and Maynard James Keenan. Sure they're sort of a lite version of that, seeing as the song never gets anywhere as complex as a Tool number, but there are hints of the same mood, and both verse and chorus are excellent.

So there you'll be, expecting, nay - hoping, that the album will give you more of this deliciously dark, heavy-yet-catchy rock/metal hybrid. And that's when the band follows with "Suggest A Path", which sounds like an Idlewild (Scottish indie-rock) ballad in the verse, only to rise to a massively anthemic chorus, complete with violins and movie-score potential. It's a curveball alright, but it's still extremely impactful, partly for being a great song, and partly for providing such a striking dynamic.

After such a one-two punch, I was frankly starting to see album of the year potential, which is why I'm baffled by the decision of the band to more or less kill their momentum by going for the same type of song two more times. "Eyes Never Lie" and "How Will We Tire" are solid songs in their own right, with Redman's powerful croon - sounding like a mix of Brandon Boyd (Incubus) and Scott Stapp (Creed) - providing memorable moments alright. Yet they don't measure up to "Suggest A Path", and when "Drama" finally brings back the Tool-meets-Incubus approach, it also does so less impressively than "Curtain Call".

"The Cursed" then follows with a cool little chime-melody and more powerful, memorable singing, and on songs like "Sunset" and "Smoke", which are also comparable to Creed/Fuel-type hardrock, Redman must be given credit for doing much to make things sound too classy and spirited to condemn. Finally, before things end on another merely decent note with "Lion", we actually get one more highlight with "Mountain". The song actually has me thinking of Creed ("Higher" and "My Sacrifice" in particular) again, yet this is not to its detriment, regardless of Creed's uncoolness, because the band simply has another moment of great, anthemic chorus-writing to make the song worthwhile.

Overall, I've consistenly struggled and come up short trying to get over the initial disappointment that faces you when you listen to "Give Me Infinity", hear "Curtain Call" and "Suggest A Path", get your hopes up, and then realise that Exit Ten can't quite consistently deliver. I think it really comes down to them trying to go big on too many tracks, and the record bending under the sheer weight of these attempts. A better balance between the big and the dark and heavy elements, or maybe a better integration of them in-track, could have made for an even better album maybe? Nevertheless, considering how good Exit Ten are in the fairly numerous moments that are indeed good, and how they were a relatively generic metalcore act when last we heard from them, I think they're still due for quite a bit of credit. Also for creating an album that sounds a rather far cry from most of what otherwise comes out these days.

Download: Curtain Call, Suggest A Path, Mountain, The Cursed
For The Fans Of: Incubus, Siamese Fighting Fish, Tool, Fuel, Midgar (yeah, try making sense of that in your head)
Listen: facebook.com/exittenofficial

Release Date 10.10.2011
Deep Burn Records

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