Sound — 9
What chances does the band have after leaving the label they've made two successful albums on and splitting with their management? Either break up or take it as a reason for a new beginning! L.A.-based The Exies took it like the fighters that don't give up. Even though the vocalist Scott Stevens claims they had all the ingredients for the end, the band signed to a new label and recorded an album. A Modern Way Of Living With The Truth, out April 10th on Eleven Seven Music, is a desperate attempt to prove they can make it through, full of very intensive and energetically strong material. The album was produced by James Michels, famous for his collaboration with Deftones, Seether and Buckcherry, and his presence is quite obvious -- The Exies still play the blend of grunge and emo, but now they are rougher and a lot more rock. With the likes of Stone Temple Pilots and Audioslave to inspire the music, you quite know what to expect. The album literally storms your ears, grabbing your attention from the very first track. It is the mix of emotions tightly tied up together - there's anguish, guilt, shame and pain, quickly changed by hope, optimism and strength of spirit. Describing the album as the synthesis of beauty and destruction, the band build it up on the contrasts -- from quiet to loud, from peaceful to explosive, changing the mood even within the song. With 11 heavy tracks out of the 13 on the record, it sounds very hard-edged and even Talking Heads' cover Once In A Lifetime is much more raw. That only makes you appreciate two simple melodic ballads more and The Exies wisely put one to open the album (Leaving Song) and one to close it (Spectator At The Revolution). After the quit of the band's guitarist David Walsh the vacant place was taken by the fellow Chris Skane, who was a member of the group back in the days when Scott Stevens and Freddy Herrera only started it. I think they barely regretted the change as Skane pairs Stevens on guitar perfectly, adding to the band's powerful sound with his virtuous playing. The songs are pretty catchy and often challenge you for a sing-along, but you give up after realizing the vocal parts are too difficult for a casual singer in the shower. The album's first single Different Than You is probably the one that will stick in your head for hours, but it's not the best track from the record as there is a lot more to be discovered inside.
Lyrics — 9
It seems like the band is at the point now where it's time to look back and sum up what they've achieved. The songs are full of questions about life like Where Is my God? Who cares? in the title song or How did I did here? in Once In A Lifetime. Stevens is looking for peace with himself by overlooking his actions often feeling shame and regret, making them the big topic on the record. Scott Stevens definitely has one of the most powerful and expressive voice among the rock bands today, but he seems to break it during his intensive vocal parts. In those rare moments when he sings in a relaxed voice, you can hear it scratching. Which doesn't make it worse in any meaning, but sometimes you wish him to clear his throat...
Overall Impression — 9
The Exies has already got some great experience and achievements before A Modern Way Of Living With The Truth -- 400,000 copies of their previous albums sold, Nikki Sixx as a fan and an appearance in Motley Crue's Carnival of Sins tour last year as a result, two years of shows with the bands like the Used, Sparta and Evanescence. This time it seems like the misfortune encouraged the band to put all of their forces into the latest effort and it paid back. The fact that The Exies weren't afraid to experiment with their genre and accepted some changes in the music, appeared to give them extra strength. Modern Way Of Living With The Truth is by far their most solid and mature album to date.