Exist – “Egoiista”


Other than the music itself, I suggest making the purchase this week as the release date was 8/28/2020 and first week sales do make a difference therefore please support the East Coast progressive metal of Exist!

Are you looking for a sign that you should purchase the new Exist recording entitled Egoiista?  This is that sign.  This is progressive metal that reminds me why I tracked down used Cynic, Watchtower and Fates Warning CDs pre-Amazon in the mid-90s.  Wine takes too long to age for this metaphor; I’ve listened to these songs for a month and these songs are finally starting to come into focus.

Guitarist/vocalist Max Phelps, bassist Alex Weber, and new drummer Brody Taylor-Smith will satisfy your need for old-school Cynic as well as present what progressive metal sounds like in 2020.  

(background of Max Phelps and his association with Cynic and Death tribute Death To All omitted because you probably already know that)

I appreciate the multiple vocal deliveries with obvious influences from Cynic & Death.  One aspect I want to hammer on is how the songs have a focus on the slower-side of the tempo range (not necessarily doom or sludge) versus frenetic speeds which some prog-metal veers toward.  Four of nine songs are around 9 minutes or above but that doesn’t mean there are 78 concepts in a 10-minute song.  

It’s hard to put into words… if Exist intended to write long-ish songs that don’t feel long, have strong melodic hooks and rhythmic qualities that grow over time and fall into place like Tetris, mission accomplished.  For me there is something satisfying about listening to a song for the 5th or 6th or 16th time and “understanding” something about it that is new this time around.  How I hear a melody from a vocal line played on guitar in a not-obvious place in the song; Easter eggs the kids today might say.

Hat tip to Anup Sastry (Devin Townsend, ex-Intervals) and Mike Semesky (Ordinance, Raunchy, ex-Intervals/The HAARP Machine) for drum and vocal production respectively and Adam Bently for the excellent mix.

There are chill-quiet-melodic sections, deliberate techy riffs, jazz metal solo breaks, layered vocal harmonies, sporadic (read: tasteful) blast beats, really everything I know you require from your music.  

Rating: 8.75/10

Bandcamp: exist.bandcamp.com/album/egoiista

Label: Prosthetic Records

About Ryan Good

Formerly: Host of "Strong PROGress", college radio music program Director of Loud Rock Department WSUM in Madison, WI On-Air Host 105.5 WMMM in Madison, WI Drums/songwriter/vocals Runga Kutta Host "So Jam Good" in Nekoosa, WI
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