REVIEW: Despite Exile – Scarlet Reverie EP
Band: Despite Exile
Album: Scarlet Reverie EP
Riding the tidal wave of deathcore bands that have emerged over the past few years, Italian quintet Despite Exile have been quick off the mark in establishing a fanbase in their hometown of Udine before releasing their début Scarlet Reverie EP. Their merging of death- and metalcore is hardly earth-shattering, but they add a lick of creativity to make them stand out from the usual European scene.
The typical elements of deathcore are all there: harsh vocals, chugging breakdowns and occasional melodic breaks. However, the band really capitalizes on this latter department, with Erik and Sanchez adding melodic riffs and solos to the template, which is particularly effective in the title track and “Aftermath”. The metalcore breakdowns are preferable to the deathcore ones, which feel a bit carbon-copy, but they’re hardly as prevalent as, say, in Emmure. Gio and Sasha as bassist and drummer are a strong rhythm section, although the triggered element detracts from that slightly. The melodies come into their own on closer “Unanswered”, my personal favorite, which also features some djent-y aspect in the breakdown and a more melancholic atmosphere.
As a vocalist, Jei would be comparable to a deathcore version of Randy Blythe, going the full range of growls, barks and shrieks. The growls are my favorite, fully employed on “Pure Crimson” in a Parkway Drive fashion, the lyrics portraying pure anger: “I’m so fucking tired of being the good one/And I’m sure you will fear what I’ll become”. Elsewhere, lost love is mourned in “Unanswered” with the poetic “She was fast asleep/Just like a rare flower/So slow to blossom/So beautiful at sight”. The only main issue I have, breakdowns aside, is unfortunate as it’s not the band’s fault: the production is seriously flawed, burying the vocals so the gang vocals overpower them. If this is sorted before the full-length, they’ll be onto a strong combination.
Inevitably the scene kids are going to lap this up, but there is also a fair chunk of material for more seasoned listeners to appreciate. The band’s claimed influences of Veil Of Maya and As Blood Runs Black are logical. Anyone with an interest in melodic deathcore would do well to check Scarlet Reverie EP out. Italian deathcore has a new contender.
Song to try: