Album: Testament ov the Exiled [Revised Edition]
Label: Brutal Resonance
Release Date: 18/01/2021 [Re-release], 25/08/2020 [Initial Release}
The band hail from Norway, formed back in 2014 and have several releases under their belt. They play a blend of industrial, dark ambient, noise, gothic rock and EBM, with some black metal elements and influences. Testament ov the Exiled was originally released on August 25th independently, with a lineup of Hide on vocals, as well as being responsible for lyrics and composing, Sam Dusk responsible for samples and sound texture and XIII on guitar and bass. The album will be re-released with bonus tracks on January 18th as mentioned on Brutal Resonance still featuring work by these members. The band’s new lineup going forward however will be Hide and Dusk, but now with Joe Crow on bass and guitar.
The album is a fantastic mix of various dark and brooding atmospheres. While drawing influences from various areas, all of the elements are blended flawlessly to create menacing soundscapes that shift between styles seamlessly. There’s a sort of lo-fi quality to the release and it really works in the favor of the albums overall sound. It gives it all a bit of extra edge and bite that stands out from a lot of other music of this nature which tends to lean more towards being overproduced for the most part. The overall pace of the album is very much on the slow side, focusing on building a creeping and pulsing sort of atmosphere rather than concerning itself with speed or aggression.
The industrial beats and rhythms are there to form the bones of the music but woven into that core fabric are the dark ambient and noise elements of the release’ without which the album would be half as captivating as it is. The gothic style vocals really add plenty of effect to the music, without them much of the atmosphere on the album would not exist. While the music itself is menacing on its own, those vocals add the raw edge that the music possesses. They also draw influence from black metal, shifting into a far rawer screeched style in parts. However, the main way that black metal influences this release is in the underproduction and general rawness that the whole album possesses. The lyrics are very much on the darker side of things, focusing on death and destruction both of one’s self and the world around them.
I have to also make special mention of track 10 Let Us Bleed, which comes in at 10:26 and is a seriously ominous piece of music that is filled to the brim with atmosphere. This song probably features the most noise and dark ambient elements on the album and is a captivating listen.
Lastly, I need to mention that this revised edition features three remixes of the same song, The Blood ov Saints, which is track 5 of the album in original form. These remixes are handled by other acts within the genre Dead Agent, Decent News and Vanity Kills. It’s amazing to see how different one song can be depending on who remixes it and what new influences they bring to it.
Overall, this is a truly solid industrial offering that really stood out to me due to the unique blend of influences, their captivating atmosphere and their underproduced aesthetic. If you are a fan of industrial, black metal or noise music you should definitely check this out.
Testament Ov The Exiled [Revised Edition] is available in both limited edition cassette and digital formats. There will only be fifty copies of the tape available worldwide.All ten original tracks will be available upon pre-order. The bonus tracks will unlock on a week to week basis. Keep checking back every Monday for another new bonus track until all are unlocked on January 18th!
Listen to and order the album below: