Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy

EXIT STRATEGY's self-titled debut album is very difficult to quantify. They don't really fit into any genre, […]
By Jacob Dawson
March 5, 2015
Exit Strategy - Exit Strategy album cover

EXIT STRATEGY's self-titled debut album is very difficult to quantify. They don't really fit into any genre, and it's hard to even consider them as Metal. Within the first three tracks alone, we begin with some synth and a speech in the "Intro", some low-key guitar with a tremendous amount of bass in "Baptism of Fire", making it seem almost like Sludge Metal, and then our expectations are subverted in "Arise" when we're presented with something that's not a million miles from being Drum & Bass. As if that weren't enough, the vocals, when first introduced in the second track, are also unlike anything else around as they sound almost like a mob of protesters shouting abuse. This is made even stranger with the knowledge that they are performed by one voice alone; that of W. Westwater.

It's tempting to think of certain parts of the music as being influenced by old-school punk; in particular the vocals. This is called into question through the guitars, which far from being tuneful and explorative, are frequently repetitive and monotone. This isn't necessarily a criticism; in certain tracks this helps to define the Sludgey sound, like in "Arise". In the following song "Midnight in Eden", the guitars are far more varied and uplifting, but maintain their deep sound, keeping the attitude created by the preceding songs. This makes it one of the standout tracks, despite the fact that the vocals are almost entirely unintelligible.

"These Four Walls" is an interesting track; entirely instrumental, beginning softly with a number of chilled acoustic guitar compilations and suddenly becoming heavy and electric before then progressively returning to the soft sound for the outro. "Parasite" is also a good song, with the drums in particular standing out as one of the highlights.

The fact that half of the tracks haven't even been mentioned yet is evidence to the main problem with this album: it's just too long. All of the tracks (minus the intro and outro) range from 5-10 minutes in length, with the majority falling somewhere in between. With 14 full-length examples of this, it's difficult for listeners to maintain their attention for that long, and it's easy to wonder what would have happened if half of the album had been saved for another release, and the remaining ones had been worked on longer. No song is outwardly bad, but the album lacks focus as a result of the sheer amount of sound it's forced to contain, and this reflects in the repetitive nature of some of the songs, "Madness Resides Within" being a prime example.

It's clear that there's talent in the making of this album, and that's why it's frustrating that it's not better. Hopefully in future releases, EXIT STRATEGY will be able to explore their strengths with more direction.

6 / 10

Had Potential

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"Exit Strategy" Track-listing:

1. Intro
2. Rage of Decay
3. Baptism of Fire
4. Arise
5. Midnight in Eden
6. These Four walls
7. Parasite
8. Madness Resides Within
9. Judas (Briefing for a Descent into Hell)
10. God Eat God
11. A New Crusade for New Lies
12. Exit Strategy
13. Beneath a Crescent Mon
14. Death Doctrine
15. Counter Clockwise Revolution
16. Outro

Exit Strategy Lineup:

B.Waddon - All Instruments & Writing
W.Westwater - Lyrics and Vocals

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