Exulted happens to be one of the bands that I watched since its beginning. So it’s nice for me to see that after some great demos they finally released one of their works with a label. This Italian band from Sicily began in 2003 by Farz (vocals, guitars, bass, synths) and Argoth (drums). They made 3 full-length demos before “I Soldati della Croce” that was self-released as a promo in 2010, before its official re-release from Sullen Records, with new full artwork.
Already from their first work in 2004 “Urbs Felix”, the band showed its very personal sound of epic black metal with many Arabian influences. The second album (it’s actually older material) “Requiem of a Dream” was quite different (without Arabian or folk elements at all), but the third album “Constantinopolis” was again at the band’s characteristic eastern folk oriented style. This new work is the natural continuation of their music, with all typical Exulted elements! Lyrically the album describes the battles of the first crusade around 1.100 AC between the Christian knights (Crusaders) and the Turkish / Islamic armies. All the lyrics are again in Italian language enhancing the overall atmosphere. It is obvious that Exulted pay a lot of attention to the historic accuracy of their concepts and they must have spent countless hours on history books…
Coming to the music now, we certainly have to do with an underground release. Distorted guitars, synths and oriental acoustic instruments (keyboard samples) are merged in the right proportions in their music. They use epic mid-tempo riffs, deeply influenced by Arabian tunes and scales, combined with either symphonic synths or folk instruments and screaming black metal vocals. The production is quite raw, but the folk instruments are “in the front”, favoring the great melodies of the band. Farz’s vocals are very extreme matching their raw sound; the band uses also some clean melodic vocals and chants here and there. Exultet manage to balance very good all these different sounds in their compositions in a very solid result. They don’t have the typical “epic” song structures, with choirs, refrains, etc, and their compositions are very complex, avoiding repetition. It’s one of these works that must be seen as a whole album, rather than separate tracks. There are also several acoustic instrumental passages in the songs, some of them with a more epic soundtrack atmosphere and others in a much more oriental folklore mood.
Fans of underground folk black metal must give a listen to this band. Especially if you like oriental touches in extreme metal, Exultet is a safe investment. You should also check “Urbs Felix” and “Constantinopolis”, since they are both at the same great level. I think Sullen Records will re-release them too this summer. Looking at this work only for the quality of its compositions, then it’s more than great. I truly believe though that their music and rich orchestrations would benefit a lot from a better production and the use of natural folk instruments. Anyway “I Soldati della Croce” is a very good album as it is and I hope Exultet will get the distribution they deserve. You can get a first taste of their music on their myspace profile.
Exultet @ Myspace
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos