Exxasens - Eleven Miles
Record Label: Aloud Music
Release Date: September 11, 2011
Exxasens is a post-rock band at its core and has always been, as demonstrated in the 2009 release of Beyond The Universe. However, calling the freshly pressed September release known as Eleven Miles a post-rock album brings with it a certain degree of reluctance. Unlike most typical post-rock bands, Exxasens have shifted the melodic aspects and by extension the focus of Eleven Miles away from twinkly lead melodies downward, into the stereotypically usual muddy and indiscernible depths of the rhythm and bass guitars, which build a lot of momentum thanks to the aptly vehicular percussion, as in “Rise Up”. The result is a very rhythm-oriented offering, with a strongly defined hard rock influence amongst sharp, accentuating tinges of metal. The lead riffs are still noteworthy even though they lose the space-y and highly atmospheric components that were blended throughout Beyond the Universe and assume a more aural and textured form, with an odd yet complimentary assortment of piano melodies sprinkled on top for supplementary flavor (see the opening of “Science Will Save Us”).
Upon first listen, I found myself considerably bored with Eleven Miles because of the transparent lack of frontal focus, but as soon as I heard “Constellation”, surprisingly my attention quickly and naturally shifted to the rhythm section. That said, although this is an unconventional technique which earns Exxasens some additional creativity points, they don’t perform as well when actually utilizing it as I had hoped. Indeed, the hard rock influence is very much present, for better and worse. Rather than adding a polyrhythmic reinforcement and sporting a distinct lack of melody in numerous moments, the rhythm section that creates such an imposing feel falls flat. There are even certain instances, most plainly shown at the end of “Casiopea”, where builds form with no climax to accompany them, ending only in a gradual stop.
Eleven Miles proves itself to be an exercise in experimentation of potential for Exxasens. While they have created an interesting offshoot to post-rock/metal by incorporating slower tempos and a little more simplicity, when it comes down to brass tacks, they simply haven’t perfected the changes they incorporate.