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EXIVIOUS - Chrysalis - the early demos

A few days from today I'll be in Tilburg again for the fifth season called Roadburn. And right now a band that happens to be from that area comes with a digital surprise release.

Unfortunately the instrumental jazz fusion metal band Exivious has announced its split a few months ago and will only play some last farewell shows, yet sadly not at Roadburn, which would have been perfectly fine with me.

Well, at least parts of the band's spirit will remain alive in Our Oceans. who released one of my favorite albums of 2015. And of course I have this compilation of remastered demo tracks from the group's beginnings in the early 2000s now.


EXIVIOUS - Chrysalis - the early demos (download) (2017)

Almost immediately a few things are crystal clear: In 2001 the style of Exivious was a lot closer to the Cynic masterpiece "Focus" than their later albums "Exivious" and "Liminal". Sometimes it's even even close to crossing the line between inspiration and copycatting. But that being said... This shit already is really good.

Ok, I guess, this shouldn't surprise me too much, since these demos probably were the reason why two of the four Exivious members became part of the Cynic reunion line-up.

The first songs from the 2001 demo even have vocals which imitate the computer voice / vocoder style of "Focus" as well as their grunt style, which later of course reappeared on Cynic's comeback album "Traced In Air" in 2008. The only band invoking these elements along with the music as blatantly as Exivious I can think of were Obscura on their latest album.

On the 2002 and 2003 demo tracks Exivious then decided to go fully instrumental. And wow, this is fantastic stuff, an absolute no-brainer for anyone who loves the jazzy Cynic style of progressive metal, especially Sean Malone's work with Gordion Knot.

There are a few minor flaws on the production side (some of the drums and percussions sound strangely detached from the rest or simply miss the right amount of punch) and of course all this doesn't reach the level of either Exivious' paragons or their own later work yet.

The flow between metal, jazz fusion (and later post rock) isn't as smooth yet, the jacopastorian feel of the bass not as developed. But the seeds are all there, there's vision, ambition and some really good tunes.

After the release of the wonderful Cynic demo compilation "Uroboric Forms" this insight into the past work of a band so closely connected to them feels like another very welcome source of solace.

Highlights: Shapeless Thoughts, Fear The Unknown, Transcendence, The Innerchild

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