Exemption have ‘it’, and they have ‘it’ in SPADES.
Bassist & vocalist Tom Moran, guitarist & vocalist Nick Lee and drummer & vocalist Ray Marte are like a musical engine of perpetual motion, constantly pumping out breathtaking musicality as naturally as breathing, effortlessly firing out complex, tricksy-yet-catchy riffs, energetic fills and insane melodic runs like a well-oiled, multi-coloured metal machine. The sheer energy of the trio just pours from the speakers, breaking like a tidal wave of restless, inventive sound.
I admit it, I’m hooked. Besotted. Enraptured.
From the opening guitar chime, bass slide and drum battery of ‘Hyperspiral’ I was ensnared. The sense of urgency and drama, but also a vivid sense of playfulness, drew me in and held me there as the trio twisted their way through spastic drum breaks, sudden guitar breakdowns, shredding riffage, smooth, melodic, utterly untypical but ballsy vocals and fierce vocal backups.
Built around spiralling, flowing, tricky Mastodon-esque guitar riffs, chiming, twinkling breakdowns and a melodic command far beyond their tender years, Exemption knock the ball completely out of the park and into orbit on this opening number alone.
Of course, it almost goes without saying that they manage to keep up the quality level across the whole of ‘Public Cemetery Party’ without so much as breaking a sweat, the wonderful, talented bastards. ‘Blood Heaven’ comes in like Mahavishnu Orchestra playing angular, summery funk, mutating into the jazz-metal staccato chording of The Fucking Champs, blooms into a jangling indie-pop chorus via pinched harmonic guitar runs, and finally mutates into an insane guitar run that sounds like the synth-break from Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ on helium atop blast beats and a bed of lush sighing background vocals. Phew. Seriously, I’m exhausted from just attempting to keep up with them and transcribe what the hell I’m hearing!!
‘Mutating Skulls’ is breakneck melodic crossover punk-thrash with a totally fifties-rock’n’roll-on-speed breakout section that swings like crazy, and a ‘Fuck the World!’ refrain, ‘Hounds Of Sound’, a psychedelic vortex of jazzy chords, fuzz bass and Torche-like pop-sludge, contains some very p.o’d and screamy vocals from Moran and a sweet-ass writhing-electric-eel of a solo from Lee, and ‘Godzilla’ sounds like a martian-prog take on The Fall Of Troy or Muse, with it’s tumbling and hovering guitars.
‘White Animal’ is Radiohead’s ‘Just’ by way of Mastodon, featuring some gorgeous Thom Yorke-esque vocals from Moran and another seriously impressive tweedly-dee geetar solo, ‘Birds’ continues the Radioheadness and Yorke-ism, but bookends it with herky-jerky mathrock insanity, ‘Cold Bodies’ is an epic in miniature, reminiscent of Manchester’s own sorely-missed progsters Oceansize, with an added dose of shred, and closer ‘Tasted By Love’ encapsulates everything that came before, pushing further into Oceansize territory and wrapping it up in riffing so convoluted and twisted that it could have come straight from Voivod’s masterful ‘Nothingface’.
Look, I don’t know about you but I am exhausted after attempting to put into words exactly what it is that Exemption DO and how much exciting ground they cover with such ease and panache.
I really do feel that words are failing me in order to adequately do justice to the towering abundantly fertile talent that these three guys possess, and so I think the best way for everyone to fully grasp exactly how dynamic and exciting Exemption truly are is to head quickly over to their Bandcamp page and just buy the album.
Seriously, you’ll be doing them a favour, but most of all you’ll be doing yourself a favour by allowing them to make enough money to keep on doing this magical thing that they’re doing AND by hearing this absolutely stellar piece of work for yourself.
…..and I’m STILL excited.
Listen to ‘Hounds of Sound’ taken from ‘Public Cemetery Party’ below.
Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Paul Robertson