Once you let your soul become part of the electrifying saga brought forth by this unstoppable Extreme Metal act from the United States, there’s no turning back.
Not only the small city of Hickory, located in the state of North Carolina, United States has a Symphonic/Progressive Black Metal band, but the music played by this band is so complex and thrilling I wouldn’t be surprised if suddenly the city turned into a worldwide reference for this type of Extreme Metal. Thus, if you like the theatrical havoc generated by Fleshgod Apocalypse and Dimmu Borgir, for example, you’ll fall in love for the music found in The Exile, the brand new concept album by the symphonic horde known as Rapheumets Well. Formed in 2008 and having released their debut album Dimensions in 2014, which featured ten songs that progressively tell a larger story portrayed in a complex saga of Atai (ancient architects), who aid in the propagation of sentient life throughout the multi-verse, Rapheumets Well return with the second “chapter” of a narrative that will blow your mind while their music penetrates deep into your soul.
Taking place during the “Soyumoth’s War” in the plain of Sovael, The Exile is in fact a fictional journey that viciously represents the hardships of life in a weird and complex way, thoroughly engendered by drummer and lyricist Joshua “Nassaru” Ward. In order to get in touch with this alternative universe created by Joshua, you can take a look at Sovael – The Great Divergence, which is indeed the inspiration for both of the band’s albums, or maybe I should say the albums are the soundtrack for the saga. Either way, I recommend you take a deep breath before you dive into the world of Rapheumets Well, because things are about to get extremely serious, heavy, symphonic and epic.
The acoustic intro in the opening track, Resurrecting The Blood Gate, doesn’t last long as symphonic and blasting sounds quickly invade our ears in a majestic way, with lead singer Tripp King vociferating the lyrics like a lunatic beast. Moreover, the sonority crafted by Joshua on drums is nicely complemented by keyboardist Aaron Rogers, enhancing the complexity and punch of this tune. In The Blight of Sotath Shal, wicked keyboards explode into brutal Black Metal with guitarists Daniel Presnell and Hunter Ross delivering solid riffs while Joshua keeps firing his blast beats, whereas in The Epic of Darmak, even more imposing and dense, the beautiful female vocals by Annette Greene provide a gentle balance to all destruction led by Tripp, turning this into one of the best songs of the album for sure.
Crucible of Titans (an awesome name for a song, by the way) couldn’t sound less violent and transcendent, with its polished production enhancing the reach of each instrument and therefore making us feel them inside our minds during this powerful blend of Atmospheric and Symphonic Black Metal; followed by Resurgence, a chant full of melancholy and anger where all three vocalists have amazing performances and, once again, the keyboards by Aaron generate a wicked atmosphere. In addition, this is the best song to enjoy the intricate bass lines by Jon Finney, especially if you’re a lover of the rumbling sound generated by this distinct instrument.
In Witch of Dark Spire, a lot more direct but as powerful as all previous tracks, the guitars by Daniel and Hunter are absolutely on fire, turning this into the most metallic of all tunes. However, in order to add some romance to this sonic havoc, we have Annette sounding like an angelic spirit with her smooth vocals. The title-track The Exile elevates even more the overall quality of the album, showcasing an astral intro that gently flows into potent and visceral music. Joshua is insanely amazing on drums with his fills and unstoppable beats, not to mention the yet again elaborate guitar riffs by both Daniel and Hunter and the demonic growls by Tripp. And as a formidable conclusion to this epic saga, Planetary Cenotaph brings forward more Symphonic Metal and huge doses of brutality meticulously tailored for all types of metalheads, with highlights to the entrancing ambience crafted by both Aaron and Annette.
While the aforementioned “Soyumoth’s War” goes on at the plain of Sovael, you can join Rapheumets Well on Facebook, YouTube, ReverbNation and SoundCloud, and grab your copy of this intense and multilayered soundtrack named The Exile at the band’s BandCamp page or at the Test You Metal Records’ Big Cartel page. But let me warn you that once you let your soul become part of the electrifying saga brought forth by Rapheumets Well, there’s no turning back.
Best moments of the album: Resurrecting The Blood Gate, The Epic of Darmak and The Exile.
Worst moments of the album: The Blight of Sotath Shal.
Released in 2016 Test Your Metal Records
1. Resurrecting The Blood Gate 4:44
2. The Blight of Sotath Shal 3:53
3. The Epic of Darmak 4:59
4. Crucible of Titans 4:14
5. Resurgence 6:07
6. Witch of Dark Spire 5:17
7. The Exile 6:13
8. Planetary Cenotaph 5:05
Tripp King – harsh vocals
Annette Greene – choir, female clean vocals
Daniel Presnell – guitar
Hunter Ross – guitar
Jon Finney – bass
Aaron Rogers – keyboards
Joshua “Nassaru” Ward – drums, clean vocals