Album review: Exxasens – Satellites

Exxasens_cover_artGenre: Post rock.

Release date: October 29, 2013.

Label: Aloud Music.

Recommended to: Fans of ambient, atmospheric and progressive instrumental metal; psychedelic and space rock.

Space metal is comparatively rare. While a number of bands play metal with science fiction and space themes, few actually do what you’d call “space music”. As for good space metal, it’s like a chemical trace element – you may have to travel to the Asteroid Belt to find it in concentrated quantities. Exxasens obviously comes from one of the asteroids, although the man behind the band may tell you otherwise.

His name is Jordi Ruiz. He is a guitarist who claims to come from Spain, not interplanetary space. Visualising Exxasens as a project and an experiment, he played every note on the first three Exxasens albums. For Satellites he brought in three musicians – Cesc Céspedes (bass), Sergio Ledesma (synthesisers and keyboards) and Oriol Planells (drums).

You’d expect that by now Ruiz would have become quite good at doing this type of music. You’d be right. His compositions invite you to lie back, close your eyes and drift along in micro-gravity.

Technically, the music of Exassens is post rock. In that respect it measures up jolly well to the music of bands like God is an Astronaut, Russian Circles and the mighty Mogwai. In keeping with the post rock style, there is no emphasis on solo instruments and no need for vocals. Every instrument streams its music into deep, galaxy-spanning layers of sound.

 

NASA photo of the music of Exxasens.

NASA photo of the music of Exxasens.

As it takes you deeper into the Cosmos, the album absorbs the same sort of glistening filaments of prog space metal that Porcupine Tree discovered so beautifully on The Sky Moves Sideways. It has very proggy refrains that would suit Hidria Spacefolk, Astra and Quantum Fantay. Ruiz puts these influences into his melting pot along with recorded exchanges between real astronauts and Ground Control. Everything coalesces into a pleasurable listening experience.

There is inevitably a degree of sameness in some of the music. That is a hallmark of both post rock and space rock/metal. It fits comfortably into the arena of ambient and atmospheric metal exactly because it is intended to create ambience and mood.

The Principle of Relative Equivalence dates back to well before Isaac Newton. It holds that all of outer space looks much the same when viewed at a distance from anywhere in the Universe. Space metal fans know that. They also know that the scenery in deep space is spectacular and beautiful. Exassens takes you there.

 

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About ChristopherMammal

I've made it to Mammal. I still hope to be classified as Human one day. Meanwhile I have evolved enough to recognise different types of music as well as the shrieks of certain vervet monkeys who are known for their scurrilous behaviour in the proximity of unguarded bananas.

Posted on January 23, 2014, in Album Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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