The latest release from Lance King's Nightmare Records is Oblivion, an all-star progressive metal affair from the multi-national act known as Exxiles. Put together by former Reign of the Architect drummer Mauricio Bustamante, the band also includes guitarist Sergio Aguilar (Agora), bassist Simon Rojas, keyboard player Noel Martinez, and guitarist Antonio Rivera (Solitude). In addition, a fine cast of guest stars have been assembled, such as Zak Stevens (Circle II Circle/Savatage), Marcela Bovio (Stream of Passion), Oddleif Stensland (Communic), Wilmer Waarbroek (Ayreon), Gus Monsanto (Revolution Renaissance/Adagio), Oyvind Haegeland (Spiral Architect/Arcturus), Mike Lepond (Symphony X), Chris Caffery (Trans Siberian Orchestra/Savatage), David Grey (Lost in Thought), and Mats Haugen (Circus Maximus), among a few others. Oblivion is to be the first part of a pending trilogy, " a cinematic conceptual album about loyalty, a symbol of friendship, politics, religion, love… It will have many stories but each will seek to become one with the rest. It will show how loyalty becomes weak when personal interests are involved, and in sacrificing a dreamers dreams in order to achieve power, neither side wins. The ultimate dream is lost but never the hope!" Based on all that, I can safely say that Exxiles are off to a great start!
The songs tend to go the route of hard hitting progressive metal, as on the riff heavy "Entropy", "Hopelessness", or the melodic yet highly intricate "Awakening Part I (Dark Renaissance)" & "The Messenger", the latter two featuring some stunning vocals from Waarbroek and Monsanto, but the appearance of a gorgeous ballad "Llorona" allows for a soaring vocal courtesy of the always impressive Bovio, which gives the middle of the album some lighter moments. Stevens lends his considerable talents to the incredible "A Better Legacy", a real catchy tune that will appeal to any Savatage fan, and "Rise" closes out the album in quite thunderous fashion, with sledgehammer riffing, orchestral keys, and locked in tight rhythms. Plenty of stellar lead guitar work to be found throughout the album courtesy of Haugen, Grey, Caffery, Aguilar, and Rivera, so be prepared for a progressive metal feast from start to finish.
Though we get treated to many of these types of collaborations, the members of Exxiles insist that this is indeed a 'band' and we are going to hear much more from them in the not too distant future. Along with some very special guests, they've created a very intriguing & enjoyable first part to a trilogy that will be a joy to investigate as it unfolds.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. A Better Legacy
3. Anthem of Lies
4. Page of the Night
6. Dictator of Trust
9. Awakening Part I (Dark Renaissance)
10. The Messenger