I tried to do some digging about for info on this band but my efforts were in vain. Excuse are an enigmatic bunch as far as I am concerned, so based off what little information I have available to me, I have managed to put together a few basics. They’re from Finland, they’ve done a few demos and “Prophets From The Occultic Cosmos” is their first full length release. With their classic metal meets thrash with some extra little touches on the side style sound, let’s see how they hold up to the standards of other thrash acts, old, new, fellow countrymen and international alike.
The first thing about this release is that it is a compact one. Six tracks long and sub-40 minute running time acts almost like a nod to the thrash albums of the 80’s where most releases could fit on one side of a cassette! Speaking of 80’s, Excuse sound like they have dipped into that decade rather heavily for inspiration. With a fast and loose yet rhythmically tight sound, the Finns come across like a bastardized mix of ‘pre-Powerslave’ Iron Maiden and most early 80’s thrash acts. Raw, intense and energetic, the sound works well and the slight touches of black metal theatrics in the vocals along with some Melodic Death Metal style buzzsaw riffs and piercing melodies round it out well.The proportion of each distinct style in the band’s sound is spot on, they are all expressed in some manner and don’t seem to drown each other out, instead they work together with a high degree of synergy.
Getting into the meat of the music, the six tracks aren’t really that diverse. After a few listens you get a feel for the patterns used in the compositional stages of the songs and you can see how it flows well. The shifts in styles or riffs, sometimes subtle and sometimes rather distinct work the way they usually do in the NWOBHM style metal foundation. Surges of chugged and galloping riffs give way to the furious buzzsaw like riffing found in a rather large selection of Scandinavian bands and the tempo changes combined with the tight low end and solid drums help tie it all together. Vocally raw with the dramatic, pseudo-black metal snarls give it that darker edge and as you listen to each track, you see how it all clicks together nicely.
“Black Crystal Visions” opens the album and after a dramatic building arpeggio sequence it explodes into full on 80’s metal worship. Everything mentioned above is present – the powerful presence of the guitars, snarling vocals and that bass/drum duo which locks it all in, helping it slip in and out of thrash and NWOBHM-style with minimal fuss. The lead guitar work is there and it isn’t that remarkable. There is the typical flair and flailing and some melodic voicings, but in all, it isn’t that remarkable and is a bit of a downer on what is a decent enough opening track. “Blade Of Antichrist” is a solid headbanger. It has that rhythmic hook with demands you make your neck work during the track. Powerful and extremely thrash like in its feel and delivery, it simply chugs along, throwing in some dual guitar melodic lines for good measure and having a reliable bassline to back it all up.
Title track “Prophets From The Occultic Cosmos” follows in a similar vein to the previous release; combining that commanding rhythmic hook with compels fist pumping and headbanging and delivering it with the wild edge of 80’s inspired thrash metal. Musically it is tighter where the lead moments are present which is an encouraging sign and the flat out buzzsaw riff sections really nail it. This continues on in the following track “Goddess Injustice”, a longer-length metal number which keeps up the intense assault with the wild edge of the faster pace and buzzing feel, making you wait until the later stages of the track for the wild guitar solo trade off spot which is the peak of the track. “Sworn To The Crimson Oath” is the best track on the release for me, all because of the epic twin guitar harmony section round the 3:30 point. The rest of the track is pretty familiar given how the album has progressed, but this 30 second slot is just pure metal magic at its finest. The 10+ minute length “Watchtower Of The Trans-Dimension” closes the album with the length of the track, there is a lot in there. The shifting riffs, thundering low end presence, melodic sequences and buzzsaw moments. It is all present and it all fits together well. The deliberate switches in style and riff don’t feel forced and by the end of this track, you can see what Excuse are trying to do with their release.
In all, “Prophets From The Occultic Cosmos” is a decent debut effort. It’s got a distinct sound and delivery, it manages to keep it simple and easy to follow and it sounds good. Sure, the familiarity of each track to the previous one can be a bit irritating and sometimes the tracks blend into one long thrash number, but in the end, it all clicks together and it is something you can listen to several times over without getting bored. I’ll mark this Excuse as a good one.