Album Year: 2012
Location: Southwest England
In today’s metal scene, an artist really has to make an outstanding first impression in order to grab the attention of the slumbering masses. If you want to make people listen, sometimes you’ve got to grab them by the fucking throat, and that’s exactly what Bound By Exile does on their fantastic second release “Defilement”. Clocking in at just under 15 minutes long, this four track EP is fast, filthy and straight to the point. In case you are unfamiliar with the band and haven’t heard their first release (Oppression, 2010) Bound By Exile is a straight up, no bullshit Deathcore band. If you’re not a fan of pummeling breakdowns and lightning-fast blast beats, this EP is not for you. If you are however, then you my friend, have just struck solid gold.
The first track, “Desecrate”, begins with a flurry of blast beats and an immediate display of the two vocal ranges found most prominently on the record. The first thing one notices is how insanely fast the drumming is. From the blast beats to the long hauls and short bursts of double bass, it is quite clear that the drummer of this five piece band has some real talent. The drums are so relentless that I am almost positive that there is some triggering, but Matthew Marks’ prowess on the cocktail kit is still incredibly apparent. The bassist also showcases great talent when he is able to be heard (this is deathcore after all), most notably appearing around the minute mark of the first track, which nicely segues into the utterly disgusting guest vocal appearance by Jason Evans of Ingested, who sounds like pure grime in the best way possible.
On the topic of vocals, the band’s lead vocalist Luke is an absolute beast. He showcases a surprising amount of diversity in his vocal arsenal, consisting of the standard deathcore highs and lows as well as an array of mid-range vocals that fit in just right during the more hardcore-esque portions of “Sick of It”. The high and low vocals are often played in unison with one another, and the contrasting effect it achieves creates a sense of urgency in what is being said that moves the songs along at a breakneck yet catchy pace. The second track ends with a fat breakdown with an interesting middle section where everything is stripped away except the drums and bass, and the effect is devastatingly heavy.
With that being said, it’s obvious that these guys know how to work a mosh pit, the many breakdowns featured throughout the release are crushingly heavy and chalk-full of little flourishes that make them interesting and heavy even after multiple play-throughs. A vast majority of the guitar work is presented in this fashion, rarely straying from the typical chugging and evil-sounding tremolo picking that deathcore is known for, while still managing to move the song along at an effective pace. However, some truly haunting guitar leads appear on the third track, “Now You’re Old News, Cunt” that give the track an extra creepy ambience that is always welcome in this genre.
The EP ends with “Dethroned” which features Gaz King of Nexilva on guest vocals, and while his appearance isn’t as noticeable or satisfying as Jason’s, King’s voice sounds angry as hell and provides a cool additional layer to the already enraged vocals. The breaks on this track are choppier than most of the others and the bursts of double bass are absolutely relentless. Some additional and equally creepy leads round out the second half of the track making it an effective closer for such an absolute bastard of an EP.
With surprisingly detailed and heavy production, tight musicianship (especially from the rhythm section) and awesome guest appearances, this is one deathcore EP that definitely stands out from the rest this year. Bound By Exile doesn’t cover any new ground for the genre on “Defilement” but they most certainly do it proud.
For fans of: Despised Icon, Signal the Firing Squad, Ingested.