Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Exumer - Rising from the Sea (1987)

For all the similarities it might have held to the band's fellow German thrashers, Exumer's debut Possessed by Fire was still a pretty good record. It is then ironic that the follow-up, which moves away from that same sound towards a more American feel, is just not as good. The vocals here, provided by bassist Paul Arakari, are different than Mem von Stein's style, in that they have a more blunt, condensed tone, bludgeoning along like most middle of the pack, blue blood US fare like Sacred Reich, S.O.D., or Hallows Eve, with a dash of Tom Araya or James Hetfield. Speaking of Metallica, I felt like there was a lot of riffing here reminiscent of Master of Puppets, only not even a fraction as inspiring or well composed.

In fact, the riffs throughout most of the album are tremendously dull, if not incompetent. Each track feels like it took mere moments to whittle out, with no catchy structure ever stabbing up from the road to snag the pedestrian's boot. Tunes like "Rising from the Sea", "Winds of Death" and "Unearthed" move in an out of the ears, and even where the band adopts a more clinical sense for melody, i.e. "Decimation". There are a few slightly superior tracks buried deeper in the track list, like "Shadows of the Past" which provides a passable stampede of the formula lacking on the earlier half of the effort. "Ascension Day" is also pretty good. However, there are also a few embarassments like "I Dare You" and the retarded "Are You Deaf?" lurking near the close of its contents. The guitarists rattle out useless, forgettable leads through most of the tracks, but the real lack of depth here is in the actual riffs, which feel like they were slurped up off the cutting room floor of better bands.

It's far from the worst album of its school and scene, but Rising from the Sea is nonetheless a sinkhole of any potential that was displayed with the debut. It feels and sounds like a mediocre attempt at the workmanlike thrash of a Wargasm or Anvil Bitch, two other bands inspired by the same sources, only better at writing songs. It doesn't compare favorably to much of the band's German peers, who all more or less managed to retain the vicious, tangible characteristics of their region. Even the mix is less than inspiring, but it might have been overlooked if there were a few songs here I could remember. Probably only "Shadows of the Past" is worthy to the debut material, but the band have since reunited, so I wonder if they perform Rising from the Sea songs with their original vocalist and have somehow improved this material. Their 2009 demo Waking the Fire is certainly better than this, so I'll keep my hopes up.

Verdict: Indifference [5/10] (knowing that the time grows short)

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