Righty, before we dive head first into this review, one element of this record must be made transparently clear beforehand; Molten Giant, the third album from the French tech-death outfit Exocrine is a concept album detailing a nuclear war between mankind and a gigantic lava monster. Yes, it might be the most stereotypical tech-death concept in existence, but all comical jabs aside, Exocrine clearly now how to masterfully animate such a monstrous narrative. Devastating, all annihilating and incendiary, this is the closet you may come to an authentic sonic imagining of the apocalypse at the hands of a monolithic, celestial behemoth.
Whilst this may not be Exocrine’s first outing, having respectfully released Unreal Existence and Ascension in the past several years, Molten Giant is their first release since signing to the grind focused label Unique Leader Records. It seems teaming with such a prolific label has only pumped pure napalm into the collective veins of this Bordeaux act, with Molten Giant standing as a fantastically turbocharged hyper-manic display of berserking tech-grind. The suitably titled opener ‘Scorched Human Society’ stands a prominent mission statement for such a record, with the cinematic, classic neo-horror influenced synths combusting into an eruption of swirling and slaying fretwork backed by what appears to be the rapid fire growls of King Ghidorah himself.
The record sits dominant within the pocket of ‘batshit, let’s throw fucking everything we have into this’ metal that many tech-death acts sit within. However, whilst many technical death acts attempt such an approach, there’s always the risk of slipping into sonic sloppiness. It seems Exocrine are conscious of such a risk this approach warns, and in turn, ensure that Molten Giant avoids such a fate. The record stands a masterclass of how skillfully execute such an advance. Despite all the pyroclastic bursts of technical wizardry and incendiary fretwork which reign prominent, there’s restraint, composure, discipline and established direction within this record. This isn’t a case of flexing metaphysical musical muscles and throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, Molten Giant is a towering statement from Exocrine, one that has been built with consideration and care.
Despite the record standing as an indisputable and eminent tech-death record, there’s a level of genre inclusiveness in order to offer respite and juxtaposition, ensuring the narrative and concept which stands as the foundation of the record remains constantly animated. Not only are the group unafraid of utilizing synth passages that wouldn’t seem out of place within Stranger Things, melodic hooking riffs, ominous acoustic bridges and sailing, triumphant solos, such dynamic eccentrics are the staples that hold this record together. Such technicalities safeguard the fact that when the record drops into technical and utterly bonkers volcanic nonsense, it hits you right off your feet with enough force to vaporize you. Such a control of dynamics and varying sensibilities are not only technically impressive but stand as a testament to the creative and vocational skill and prowess of this band.
In all, Molten Giant is undoubtedly going to be a prominent turning point for Exocrine, a stepping stone that allows the group to make the transition from underground heroes to modern runners of the global scene. This is decimating metallic, multidimensional chaos at it’s finest, one that is abound to be celebrated and loved by the respective scene for years to come. If you enjoy your extreme metal utterly eccentric, madcap and glistening with composure and technicality, make sure to jump aboard the adventure this lava beastie of a record offers.
Molten Giant is released August 17th via Unique Leader Records