Exises - Reternity

Year of Release: 1996
Label: Cymbeline
Catalog Number: Cymply 5079-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:13:00

This disc was released way back in 1996, and I've had the disc ever since it was released ... I was browsing a vendor's catalog one day and I saw a description of this disc that read, "Hawkwind meets Dream Theater." Since just about every vendor in the world describes a prog metal disc as sounding like Fates Warning, Queensryche, or Dream Theater, I pretty much dismissed it as what it was being described as, but for some reason I grabbed it anyway. It was nowhere near the description that was given to it, but it was a very cool melodic metal disc, a concept disc at that set to a sci-fi theme. The "cheese factor" brigade pretty much tore this thing apart with its lyrics of a nuclear destruction, last man on the planet, re-plant the species songs throughout the disc, but today it still remains one of my favorite melodic metal discs of the 90s...

I'll go for broke again and state that this a Dutch band, who actually had released a disc called Exises way back in 1986, which I managed to track down some many moons ago.... it is nothing like this disc, but representative of what standard melodic metal was all about back then... In 1996, Exises decided to create this science fiction concept disc with that 80s melodic metal sound, but with a 90s and beyond futuristic attitude ... From what I am told by one of the members of the Board [Perpetual Motion], is that Exises is going to release a new disc in 1998, and it is supposed to be even better than this one... The funny thing about this band is that I am not even sure I am pronouncing the name right, but I am sure that I've narrowed it down to 2 possibilities... ;o) Here is what this disc is all about ...


As stated, it's pretty much an 80's melodic metal style but with a futuristic attitude... I say 80s melodic metal because I haven't talked with one person who hasn't mentioned the 80s when they listen to this disc. I pretty much agree with that, but I don't of any bands that really sounded like this band back in the 80s... or if they did, they weren't putting out creative pieces like this ... It does have its proggy moments, but I cannot put this in a prog metal category because it really isn't progressive in nature. Because of the proggy injections, catchy music, and creative lyrics, this has appealed to many prog heads with melodic metal roots ... At times, this disc reminds me of what Queensryche was doing in 1988 with Operation: Mindcrime, as one of the songs, "Sole Survivor" is right out of the "Eyes Of A Stranger" school of thought. There isn't an ounce of coldness on this disc musically, although the lyrics are enough to run up to your loved one and hug them due to the futile and hopeless theme of the disc ... It's interesting how the band tries to draw you into the story, with it's catchy hooks and melodies ... The singer has an interesting task of making this story seem real, and he does sing with conviction ... The band seems to be the brainchild of one, Michael Siethoff, guitarist extraordinaire, who recorded and mixed the whole disc ... he also wrote most of the music on the disc as well ... We will get to Michael in later paragraphs, but it's not hard to hear which instrument dominates this disc ... I wish I could compare the music to another band to give an idea of who they sound like, but I am at a loss to name a band that actually fits this band's style and sound, but if you can think of some of the most melodic metal bands you've heard in the 80s, and then add a futuristic sound to that band, complete with wiz guitarist, synthesizers galore, a great atmospheric production, and an excellent singer, then you are in the ballpark of what Exises is all about ...


Guitar, bass, drums, vocals, keyboards ... with an emphasis on guitars ... As I've said, this disc is the brainchild of Michael Siethoff, and when you first hear this disc, you will hear an interesting style of guitar work that I haven't heard maybe since the Van Halen days of old ... Michael seems to have found a bit of niche for himself, playing with speed, passion and adding enough sound effects to his sound to at least make him sound different than anyone else ... He is definitely the driving force behind the sound, adding in acoustic guitars, synth-guitars, phased guitars, and anything else you can do to a guitar to create an interesting sound that almost fits the science fiction theme itself. The drums / bass are constantly pumping out the bottom end, and I think I hear some bass pedals in there at times for a nice LOW, bottom end that will make your walls shake ... The keyboard player is basically there to create the haunting, space-like sound that echoes throughout this disc ... Using some imagery here, it's not hard to imagine yourself floating around in space on some lonely spaceship while listening to this disc ... the band does a great job of creating the feel and emotion of the story line, which again is science fiction through and through ... These guys can get fast, slow it down to a crawl, and then carry on at will with this music ... Each song is geared to the particular situation that the characters in the story are going through at the time ...


Here is where this disc will make you or break you ... also, this is where the "cheese patrol" will come in and talk about the "bad" or "dated" production ... I don't have a problem with it, but I will say that you have to have a fondess for echo and reverb in your music or this will drive you nuts ... I love it, but I have been told by certain people that they had a hard time sitting through the thick, layered reverberation ... and this shows up especially on the drum sound, which again I loved ... every time the drummer hits the snare drum, it echoes and booms like they were recording in a large chamber ( or spaceship ) as I said earlier... I really think the sound is intentional, and fits in with the story line very well ... the vocals are also heavily echoed, and I love that delay / reverberated sound when a singer finishes up a line and the last word goes on and on forever ... the guitars have an interesting tone to them, although pristine and clear ... unless I am mistaken, there are tons of effects being used to attain this sound, unless technology allows this to happen naturally these days ... overall, the production is clean, but very thick ... I had no problem with listening to it, and I found the strange effect pleasing and entrancing as I try to follow along with the story ...


The singer, Co Timmer, has a very pleasant, mid-range voice ... I use Michael Tangermann of Superior as a good comparison to Co Timmer a lot as they both have the same tonal qualities about them, along with what I call an "intelligent sounding" voice ... one that just screams of elegance ... If you know what Michael Tangermann sounds like, Co Timmer resembles his tone, although not as deep or pronounced as Tangermann ... Co stays within his range, although on certain songs he does get up a bit high and I am not sure if it his accent or his limit but when he gets a bit high, it is a bit difficult to understand the words ... this does not happen often, and Co pretty much rules throughout this disc ...


For whatever reason, this disc has always found its way to my player with no problem, even after owning it since 1996 ... Anyone into melodic metal / concept discs needs to at least hear this disc .... I hate it when discs like this get passed by without at least being given a chance to be heard ... Personally, I am a sucker for concept discs, not caring what he subject matter is ... it just so happens that this one is a sci-fi theme, and thats even better for me ... I won't say that everyone is going to love this disc, because it really can't be put into a prog metal category, but anyone with roots seated firmly in melodic metal, or anyone into some serious guitar playing, or anyone into concept discs should give this one a chance ... sure, ocaasionally you might snicker through some of the lyrics, but you will also get out that air guitar and start running around the room as well ... for some, it may even have you running to the window looking to the sky for UFOs ... I can't wait to hear what this band has in store for 1998, but if it tops this one, then it will be a must have on my list ... Reternity is highly recommended ...

[The 1998 album never materialized... nor seemingly one the band expected for 2002/2003... -ed.]

Point Of No Return (part 1) (1.24) / Meltdown Sector 6 (5.29) / Sole Survivor (5.59) / S*p*y (3.55) / Realm Of Darkness (7.05) / The Transformation (4.31) / Fatal Miscount (4.42) / Action Reset (4.29) / Coming Man (5.43) / Space Odyssey (8.56)

Adri Sleyster - bass
Berend Houter - drums
Michel Siethofff - guitars
Co Timmer - vocals
Rene Schaap - keyboards

Exises (1986)
Reternity (1996)

Genre: Other

Origin NL

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website: home.planet.nl/~spectrasound/
Hits: 2015
Language: english


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