25 Jul 2022 - Stephan
Death Metal | Sentient Ruin Laboratories | Release date: 29 Jul 2022
“Exaltation from New Zealand are a death metal band releasing their debut album on Sentient Ruin Laboratories.” - Does this count as a full review yet?
It’s indeed incredibly easy to sum up Under Blind Reasoning like this, because as far as I’m concerned the label can hardly do any wrong with the death metal part of their roster. So it’s already got to be dope, right?
Of course it would also be typical for their releases to have influences from funeral doom, avant-garde black metal, industrial or even ambient on it. But not Exaltation! These guys are absolutely determined traditionalists, devoted to the pure doctrine of the unholy Morbid Angel. Which should in itself be yet another big selling point for many Blessed are the Sick-acolytes, given that the original band is a) painfully slow in putting out any new content and has b) not always been sticking to their own formula nearly as much as desired by many listeners for a while now.
So yes, Exaltation have this whole sound down: the sawing Trey Azagthoth riffs, the angular grooves over relentless double bass rolls, blast beats with the snare on one, everything. Only the frantic solos and dungeon synth interludes are missing really. The powerful growls sit comfortably right between David Vincent and Steve Tucker. In authentic fashion the album also flies by in what feels like fifteen minutes but surely is at least seventeen. Ok, in truth it’s more like a Slayer-Reign In Blood-format with a little over half an hour. Of course I could throw in some other famous death metal names, but why bother? First and foremost this is Morbid Angel worship - or you could even call it carrying of the Morbid torch. Because it’s that good! I’ve always been a believer in originality, yet this is absolutely fine for me, since Exaltation just nail it so perfectly.
And don’t get me wrong: These guys aren’t complete copykiwis! They don’t just recycle Altars and Covenant ideas, but indeed develop their own spin. The stylistic framework conditions are just very much set in stone. Only during the finale of the closer “Divider Of Redemption” you can feel the band breaking out of the voluntary constraints. So the last minutes don’t sound like MA, but you can bet your grandmother’s rocking chair that it’s still a hundred percent death metal and nothing but pure death metal de luxe.
Under Blind Reasoning is exactly what it wants to be - and it exceeds at this mission. The only potential controversy I can spot here is which Morbid Angel classic is most likely the main inspiration. Formulas Fatal To The Flesh? Heretic? Gateways To Annihilation? Well, you’ll know it’s got to be the latter one. For the very similar guitar sound and production alone. But I didn’t tell you that.
You know what? Just forget everything I’ve written after the very first sentence and stick with just that one: Exaltation. Sentient Ruin. Death Metal. You’re already happy. And everything on top of it will only make you even happier.
Provided you dig death metal that is. Otherwise… what are you even still doing here reading this? There’s so much other content on this site, seriously.