Burnley's Exit State have to this point made more of an impact as a live band, with some high profile support slots, rather than a recording band. If its rock and its loud, that's how it's supposed to be. But you have got to satisfy the taste buds and droolify the ears of the disturbingly high number of modern rock fans who are glued to their armchairs and don't seem capable of putting the postcode of the local venue into their sat navs.
So to the album.....
This is the band's third studio outing, recorded January 2013 and is produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Matt Elliss at Axis Studios, Doncaster, with cover artwork by Mike Collins of Lungfull Design. 'Let's See It All' follows hot on the heels of 'Black Veins', their 2011 release.
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The press releases for the band tells me they are a "modern classic rock band". In a way yes, but the sound is more akin to a collision of the classic variety and what may have happened if late 80s Rock and early grunge had been allowed to mix, rather than the labels being obsessed with grunge and ignoring almost all that had gone before. But that's another story...
There are a few of the compulsory classic rock traits... diaphragm busting keyboard intro, anthemic melodic rock, screaming guitars, thunderous bass lines. The songwriting (that rather critical ingredient in music that so many in the music industry today seem to think is about as relevant as an England football fan buying a ticket for the World Cup final) is definitely a cut above average and that is what elevates the album.
'Pull The Thread' kicks things off and gets you in the mood from the moment it starts. Loud, heavy and deceptively melodic chorus, it leaves you wanting more, a lot more. 'Sun In My Eyes', whilst obviously not written in homage to our weather, carries on in the same vein. Cue thunderous rhythm section, the beginnings reminiscent of Whitesnake's 'Ready And Willing' cranked up. It is good, very good.
The title tracks comes roaring at you, the classic part ramped up, guitar screaming at you throughout. Even the most sedate individual will feel the need to do an impression of a whirling dervish. It is good old fashioned straightforward rock, but rock it does very well and the NHS should put it on their list of remedies for depression.
So to 'The Pain I Demand'. It's not painful at all, the band shifting down a gear or two almost into a modern take on the power ballad with an anthemic quality. We aren't talking Foreigner here, it is still heavy, rocks but there is that feel to the song. Not that I am saying it is a bad thing.
'Sugarcoat', 'Lenny' and 'Die Zombie' are next up and the theme continues. Loud, melodic chorus', well crafted songs from very accomplished musicians. The only down side, to my ears at least, in the middle of the album, is the lack of something a bit different, something out of the ordinary, a few unexpected breaks. Don't get me wrong, they are good Rock songs, it's just that you sense the band is capable of pulling something more out of the musical hat, something to really make you really salivate over.
'Elastic' and 'Save Us From Ourselves' do just that.
When 'Elastic' crunches out its first chord, it's apparent they listened to my last comment. Classic rock riff meandering through the whole song, menacing, getting you right where it counts. Bass and drums backing up the charge, vocals ramming the point home. Classy stuff and it doesn't let up for the whole track. A whole album of that quality and you would be looking at something special.
'Save Us From Ourselves' is musically anything but straightforward, putting its point across with all the insistence of Bruce Lee armed with Ian Dury's rhythm stick. One of those songs that comes at you from a different direction almost every time you listen to it.
'This Part Of Me', drum breaks a plenty, bass fills, pounding guitar and screaming vocals keeps things on an upward curve. If you don't suffer from involuntary spasms in your head and feet during this one then my advice is to get yourself down to the neurological department as soon as possible.
'Crystalline' finishes off the album and leaves a good taste in the mouth. Quiet and unassuming at the start, there is that feeling it may be one of those tracks that appear at the end of an album as a filler. But it soon becomes clear this ain't no filler. It isn't an all out blast of high protein rock in the manner of the preceding ones but it is classy stuff, Roy Bright's vocals injecting more of the classic rock sound on this track from the becalmed beginnings to its rise than on any other track on the album.
So there we have it, my work is done, it is down to you lot now.
'Let's See It All' is not perfect but it is a good album, better than good. The musicians are very good at what they do, the songs are well written, loud, heavy and melodic, and should be enough to keep even the most lethargic fan happy. Better than that, it should be enough to get the same lethargic fan off his arse and down to the nearest venue when the band play there.
The album is well produced, but on that side there is a slight lack of that live feel, especially on the first half of the album, the sound simmering just below the surface, never quite breaking through the barrier. But that is probably just me being picky.
Band website: www.exitstate.com
EXIT STATE ARE PROUD TO BE OFFICIAL PATRONS OF chART : CHILDERN'S HOSPICE ARTS www.chartuk.org