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Exocrine’s “Backdraft” Sets Tech-Death on Fire

molten giant

Extreme technicality both defines and threatens technical death metal. Instrumental proficiency and songwriting complexity are must-haves in this style — when cranked to the max, though, these otherwise benign features quickly transform into curses. The resultant music can end up overburdened with senseless complications and occluded by a fog of blatant and ultimately tasteless virtuosity. It takes an adept, cohesive band to mitigate these pitfalls: essentially, when to scale intensity back and when/where to utilize (or rethink) tech-death tropes. The goal is to be dynamic but familiar, something definitely tech-death but slightly more emotive and human. This has nothing to do with restraint; it has much more to do with tactics and contextual awareness.

Enter French quartet Exocrine and their upcoming third full-length Molten Giant, a tactically aggressive tech-death masterwork both respective of the style’s tenets but challengingly deviant. If this band specializes in any one area, it’d be timing: when to nail you with a wildly sweeping guitar solo, when to eviscerate you with a techy breakdown, and when to mind-bend you with layers of ever-shifting riffing. Throughout, there’s a dense feeling of effortlessness — something almost machine-like, but far too creative to be computerized — plus deft touches of pure, raw fun. For a taste of all this excitement, check out an exclusive stream of the album’s third track “Backdraft” below.

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As with every song on Molten Giant, “Backdraft” is rife with easily hummable melodies strung together by transitions which include everything from chugging microbursts to spin-off guitar leads. The band knows about blasting, too, as the song’s midsection dictates: riff harder, stronger, faster. Things then dissipate into a more upbeat, nuanced rhythm-based section featuring another bonkers (but tasteful) solo, all before returning to the chorus. This undulation is a prime example of Exocrine acting as tacticians vs. demolitionists, too. Molten Giant is not dizzying you at every turn (e.g. it offers plenty of repeating sections); rather, it builds tension and drama to high points only to smash things to smithereens with barbarically primitive weaponry.

It’s true that some tech-death has forgotten how to be heavy — perhaps this is a byproduct of the pursuit of such pure/clean levels of technicality across the board. Without sacrificing any precision, though, Exocrine offer up some savagely heavy tech-death over Molten Giant‘s eight tracks. To wit: the album approaches the fringe radiation of deathcore, but not close enough to suffer any ill effects (more apparent on tracks like “Lavaburst” rather than “Backdraft”). And, if you were to pick an analogue from an earlier era of tech-death, Beneath the Massacre would be a good place to start, though Exocrine are more trimmed, polished, and honed. They’re just as bonkers though, without overdoing it, and that’s really the magic balance to be struck for success.


Molten Giant releases on August 17th via Unique Leader. Pre-orders are available here. Watch a lyric video for the album’s first single “Hayato” below.

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