There aren’t many examples of saxophone in metal, but with his new project, American Colin Stetson – with a background in experimental jazz, avant-garde and contemporary classical music – invites us to embrace the concept.
Entirely instrumental (bits you may occasionally think are human voices are almost certainly saxophone or keyboards), this is dark and discomfiting post-rock with a surreal edge. Whether juxtaposing drummer Greg Fox’s blast beats with oppressive walls of sound and passages in 9 and 6 in Xenolith; The Anvil or creating the bleak, doom-laden soundscapes of Anaitis Hymnal; The Arkose Disc, much of which would work accompanying some particularly morose and unsettling Scandi noir film, Ex Eye is a challenging album. It’s only four tracks and under 40 minutes long, but the intensity of the performances (recorded live, as a band) and the depth of the worlds created within those tracks demand much from the listener. Ex Eye won’t be for everyone – very few jolly, easily hummable tunes here, and they do seem terribly solemn about what they do – but if your predilections move in the direction of chaotic metal experimentation and dystopian menace, Ex Eye should be on your radar.