Does anyone out there remember John Cason and EXILED? Anyone?
Well, EXILED roamed the American underground metal scene almost two decades ago, releasing some highly acclaimed albums of genuine U.S. metal. That was before going on a hiatus and Cason singing for RITUAL STEEL. But time is up and EXILED are back on the streets with Johnny Franekshred handling the guitars and a hot new album.
The first impression can lead to controversial feelings. The front cover is nothing more than a childish drawing of a spirit strolling through the forest, a bungle picture that may lead the potential buyer to pass on the album and look for something else. But wait a minute… I can remember a shit load of 80’s metal legends that hand ridiculous drawings for cover art, so there is a chance there is more than meets the eye in this one, right?
And the right answer to this would be: of course there is.
The album is a decent collection of songs that combine the finest U.S. metal elements. Drawing inspiration from bands like JUDAS PRIEST, METALLICA, JAG PANZER (Cason’s vocals do reminded me of TYRANT), VICIOUS RUMOURS, MALICE, CHASTAIN, ICED EARTH etc., the band delivers fast songs (like the awesome title track or “In The Wake of Terror”) and a few more touching mid-tempo moments (“The Secret Gathering”), embodied with soaring shredding guitars from mr. Frankenshred and Cason’s great vocals. And speaking of Cason, it has been a long time since I last heard from him, yet his voice hasn’t changed at all.
Yet there are some drawbacks in this one… for example some sloppy vocal lines here and there and someone please remind Johnny not to shoot meaningless guitar leads everywhere. He is a fine guitar player but he doesn’t need to remind it to us all the time.
To make a long story short, EXILED managed again to deliver a decent album. I can understand that the modern listener might not be impressed but there are lots of great moments in this one, should you give it a chance.