I Exist – II: The Broken Passage


Artist

Album

II: The Broken Passage

Label

Resist Records

Year

2011

Genre

For Fans Of

Eyehategod - Sleep - Doomriders

Summary

Another great offering from one of Australian hardcore's best.

Rating

88 / 100

Over the past few years, Canberra’s resident hardcore cult I Exist have built a solid following nationwide with their irresistible blend of hilarious antics and serious riffage. While their sludgy epics speak of fantastical beasts and buxom maidens, their bong-infused tunes and seemingly endless members make the band a mythical creature in its own right. Having put out their debut full-length offering “I: A Turn For The Worse” last year, “II: The Broken Passage” sees I Exist’s first release on Australia’s premier hardcore label Resist Records.

Professedly taking strong cues from southern stoner sludge bands like Sleep and Eyehategod, I Exist couple the dirty, bluesy riffs afforded by their influences with the speed and intensity of metallic hardcore. On “The Broken Passage”, head warlock Jake Willoughby’s snarl sounds fearsome as ever over the powerful soundtrack of numerous guitars. The album is yet another step away from the shorter, more abrasive tunes of their EP “Three Nails and a Book of Flaws” towards more fully-developed songs. This is reflected by the sheer length of the album, which clocks in more than ten minutes longer than its predecessor (which itself featured an eight minute song). While boasting plenty of the hardcore intensity we’ve come to expect from I Exist, the album is filled out by tracks such as the instrumental, acoustic interlude “The Riders Ode”, which conjures mental images of icy mountains, dwarves and dragons.

From the Black Sabbath-esque opening riffs of “Winters End” it’s apparent that I Exist’s heavy metal influences are as strong as ever. The numbered chronicling of their albums in itself could be seen as a hit tip to Zeppelin. “Wyverns Keep” is one of the hardest hitting tracks on the record, featuring raw, upbeat percussion and pummelling, deliciously doom-laden riffs. “Blades Ruin”, “Fleshold” and “Acid Strain” fulfil the speed quota on this album, while songs like “Immortal Mare” and “Lungs Of Mire” bring a slower, sludgier groove to the record. “Wretched Earth” is I Exist’s most ambitious work to date, from the dark, epic build up of its opening minutes to its psychedelic, dreamy solos. It fades out, before the album is wrapped up by the instrumental stomper “Return To Cosmos”.

Conclusion

Able to create some dark and evil music whilst not taking themselves too seriously, I Exist have proved themselves to be one of Australia’s most innovative and exciting bands. “The Broken Passage” sees them move away from a punchier hardcore sound and lean even further towards their sludge metal influences, which will alienate some listeners. Nonetheless, this album is guaranteed to be one of the best Aussie releases this year. In 2011, I Exist will teach hardcore kids how to headbang.

Tracklisting

1. Winters End
2. Ghost of a King
3. Wyverns Keep
4. Blades Ruin
5. Black Unicorn
6. The Riders Ode
7. Acid Strain
8. Lungs of Mire
9. Fleshold
10. Mammoth Falls
11. Immortal Mare
12. Wretched Earth
13. Return to the Cosmos

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