The fact that that Exivious are half North American and half Dutch might not mean much but when it transpires that the line-up features members of Cynic and Textures, eyebrows are bound to be raised. Ultimately name-dropping is futile but the potential listener needn’t worry for this release can truly boast a flawless technical execution and contains some top-notch music.
The sound doesn’t possess the characteristic abrasiveness and muscle of Metal but it’s bound to find admirers from within this very sphere of music. I’m saying this because there’s such a wide range of genres that find their way into the album – Jazz, Prog Metal, Atmospheric Rock……….and it all sounds so beautifully coherent. To be a bit more specific, I sensed the nimble legatos of Vai and Satriani, the off-beat melodies of Tony Macalpine and the seductive bass-lines of Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Niacin, Mr. Big). Put in a wider context, the music in “Exivious” probably lies somewhere between Brand X and Dream Theatre.
Another aspect of the album I appreciated was that it doesn’t consist of 1 slab of technical abandon separated by pauses into instrumental songs (yes, the album is entirely instrumental). Each ‘song’, in fact, possesses its own particular mood. For example one of the more technically complex tracks is probably ‘Ripple Of A Tear’ where all musicians have an opportunity to showcase their technical dexterity, especially guitarist Tymon and the band’s bassist Robin Zielhorst. ‘The Path’, on the other hand, starts off with a haunting intro which seamlessly bursts into more vigorous rhythms, only to occasionally fall back into the initial atmospheric mood.
Exivious join a growing list of bands doing it their own way – the band is unsigned and their CD can be obtained through the band’s website (see below). Another reason to check out their official online presence, then. Cynic took 14 years to follow up their debut. Let’s hope Exivious take far less than that.