Sound — 8
I cannot remember why or how I ended up going to the "Return To Exile" myspace page, but I am pretty glad that I did. After listening to a few of the tracks on their player, I thought they were quite enjoyable, which led me to getting their self titled, debut full length. Return To Exile combine elements of the various -core genres with melodic death metal riffs and plenty of leads. Although this probably would be classified as "Deathcore" it's not the monotonous chugfest that usually comes from bands in this genre. The technicallity of this band is particularly impressive. Riffs are melodic and catchy while the leads are tasteful and at times blazingly quick, almost Necrophagist-like. The band also shows that they are able to change up a song with acoustic guitars, clean breaks or simply changing the tempo. There were breakdowns on this album but when they arrived, as well as usually having leads behind them, they usually only last 20/30 seconds at the most, to transition to another riff or lead part. The other instruments also hold their own on the technicality front, the drums were quite interesting with double kick patterns and the bass was audible when the guitars were harmonizing. Although instrumentally, this band is all about the Guitars, even if the flashiness is to compensate for a slight lack of originality and issues in the song structures.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics on " Return To Exile " are standard for -core and metal genres. Aggressive lyrics about war, death, the pain of life, ETC. So it does fit in with the music quite well. The vocals are were the album loses some points of me. The singer, Joey ( who also plays guitar, no mean feat in a band such as this ) really doesn't have much range as a screamer. He uses his high quite a lot with usually small breaks in which he will use his low. His low isn't really guttural, it is more like a metalcore growl. His high does pierce the wall of song quite nicely though. Neither of his vocal styles are bad, it is just neither or them are anything special. Still decent however.
Overall Impression — 7
This album sounds a bit like the band Conducting From The Grave in it's melodic death core with technicality sound. I think that this band really has some potential. The opening track on the CD, Celebrate, is a harmonized sweeping solo with bass backing and double kick. No ambient intro, or brutal breakdown, Return From Exile are saying that they really mean business. The most impressive songs are: This Party's Never Over, The Departed, Fall Back, Rewind which all showcase the bands sound the best. What I like the most about this CD is: the technicality, melodic guitar work and solos and tempo changes. What I don't like as much is the vocals, the (midly) repetitive song structure, slight lack of originality and some of you might find the guitar wankery a little overbearing at times. I did enjoy this album and think that the band has potential to make it to the top of the dying genre of death core even though I see them more as Melodic/ Technical Deathcore but judge this for yourself. They are hardly a Necrophagist but this isn't your average Deathcore band either. Fan of Melodic Death Metal or Melodic Deathcore, give this band a listen.