Born in Exile – Transcendence (Art Gates Records)

Tuesday, 10th March 2020
Rating: 8.5/10

Establishing their presence in the Spain metal scene since 2012, Born in Exile present an impressive marriage of contemporary, melodic, and progressive influences on their second album Transcendence. The band released a debut album Drizzle of Cosmos in 2017, gaining the chance to tour the country and play at the prestigious Rock Fest Barcelona – setting the stage for this follow-up. Given a healthy playback level, it’s evident these musicians are willing to incorporate a dynamic approach and wide array of influences to allow for some versatile arrangements and exciting interplay that will keep ears abuzz and energy flow at peak performance levels.

An immediate standout component is the musical interplay between guitarists Carlos Castillo and Joaco Luis – along with the supplementary orchestration / keyboard moments, the band can go from a neoclassical driven slant a la Symphony X/ Dream Theater on “Enchantress” and then drive home a heavier, slightly modern tone a la Nevermore or Evergrey for “Herd of Deception”. A sweeping ballad such as “One More Line” comes midway through, a perfect dramatic offering featuring lush atmosphere against emotional vocals and some nifty drum signature juggling by Juanma Avila. The modern aspects come in with cvber/electronic rhythms and driving dotted notes to make “Ziggurat” very pulsating, the twists and turns see saw against a strong main riff, circular melodic refrains, and solid rhythm section mechanics. The difference maker for major appeal comes from the fierce and potent vocal range of Kris Vega – her ability to be soaring, melodic, confident, and deadly when called for is incredible. At times when you listen to songs such as “Living Inside Me” and “Save Us” elements of Leather Leone and Floor Jansen come to the forefront – using distortion effects in spots for the latter as enhancement and not a deterrent to her obvious talent.

Born in Exile embrace an outlook where they can pick and choose from modern/djent tones and progressive/power combinations to create an array of songs that keep your attention from front to back – while not exhausting their welcome with unnecessary technical overload. Transcendence will be one of those contemporary progressive metal records that has far reaching support – as the quality musicianship, songwriting, and professional execution will win most over.

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