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Exist - Take My Picture album review

Death To All frontman returns to the progressive metal path

Having fronted the Death To All tribute caravan, Max Phelps gained a reputation as the true heir to the late Chuck Schuldiner, at least on the vocal side of things, and Defeated Sanity enrolled him last year for that very reason on their last album. So while it would make sense for him to capitalise on this newfound status for his own benefit with Exist, the only really extreme aspect of the band is Max’s occasionally harsh vocals as Take My Picture – their first album released through a label – has more to do with US progressive metallers Watchtower than, say, Deeds Of Flesh. Their sonic balance may require a bit of adjustment for some, with its fretless bass very high in the mix and the overall surprisingly lighthearted overall sound. But just as with Cynic, with whom Max previously played live, Exist’s greatest strength is how fluid they sound and how those part-Meshuggah, part-Allan Holdsworth stop-start solos are being pulled out of the hat just at the right moment.