My Own Army

Written by: TL on 05/01/2009 12:37:26

A band that sounds like KoRn but with a female vocalist? Only in Italy right? Well ok, not really, not if you count Germany's Guano Apes, which would be a main point of comparison in this review regardless. The band in question is Exilia. Based in Milan, they have been around some 10 years and this year has seen the release of their fourth album "My Own Army" which is now up for review.

Like many band out of the last decade, these boys (and girl) claim to draw inspirations from hardrock and post-grunge, effectively ending up sounding like most of those same bands, nu-metal. All the usual bells and whistles in terms of instrumentation and composition apply, and like I've already mentioned, comparisons to Guano Apes immediately come to mind, mostly due to the slightly distorted effect on frontwoman Masha's vocals. If you're not familiar with the Germans though, I guess you can think of Flyleaf as well, only heavier and with harsher vocals, and I suppose that a liking for either of those should set you up for liking Exilia as well.

My question is though, who really likes this kind of stuff anymore? I know that us critics throw declarations of the deaths of genres around like cheap candy these days, but if anything is as dead and buried as can be, it must be nu-metal. It's a shame because apart from the unfortunate choice of genre, Exilia bear the characteristics of a band that has learned the ropes, packing this fourth album of theirs with a fair ensemble of cool riffage and effective arrangements, in this day and age, it's just hard to see who it's going to impress. Surely, the music falls completely on its face in the places where it tries to be heavy, as the array of bands available today has certified that even the heaviest of nu-metal would have trouble scaring even your grandmother, and the same applies to Exilia. Instead the band are more successful in the parts where they get a bit more melodic and emotive, as is most evident by the time we're treated with a (mostly) cleanly sung piano-introduced ballad (Track 7, "Far From The Dark"). However, this only contrasts how monotonous and boring Masha's unvaried scratchy vocals have otherwise gotten up until this point, and I wonder why her clean voice isn't used more extensively for greater variation. The following cover of "In The Air Tonight" is alright, but again, I don't see who'd prefer this nu-metallic version to Phil Collins' original.

Overall, there's technically nothing wrong with Exilia's "My Own Army" except for the rather boring vocals and the obsolete genre-relation, and anyone who buys it will get some good solid riffage and a handful of semi-catchy choruses to please any secret longings for nu-metal that they might have. If such guilty pleasures don't hold any sway over you, I doubt you'll be interested in this beyond a listen or two on myspace though.


Download: No Destination, Far From The Dark, Hunter,
For The Fans Of: Guano Apes, Flyleaf
Listen: myspace.com/exilia

Release Date 30.01.2009
AFM Records

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