Ex Eye - Ex Eye album review

“None more black” instrumental saxophone metal from Ex-Eye

Ex Eye - Ex Eye album artwork

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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.

Gary Mackenzie

Gary has contributed reviews and news features for Prog Magazine for over a decade now. A fan of prog and heavy rock since childhood, his main areas of interest are classic and symphonic prog, prog-metal and modern acts bringing in fresh influences to the genre. He has a professional background in youth and community work, he teaches drum kit in schools and is a working musician. Gary was the drummer in semi-legendary NWOBHM band Praying Mantis for a couple of years and has been a member of indie-prog-pop-art-rock combo The Mighty Handful for more than twenty years. He loves cats and skiing, and has a Blue Peter badge.