I first got to know THROWN INTO EXILE back at Mayhem Fest 2013. Three years and a complete lineup overhaul later, founding member Mario Rubio has put together not only quite the band, but quite the statement debut album with Safe Inside (out now, Urban Yeti Records). They say that good things come to those who wait, and in the case of this CD that is certainly true. As soon as album standout “Declination” started I knew these guys weren’t fucking around, and I actually said so out loud to myself while at work last week.
First thing that grabbed me by the nuts were the riffs, courtesy of Rubio and fellow guitarist Raymond Sanchez. The second thing was undeniably Zac Morris’ drumming. I’ve known him since his time in WHITE EMPRESS, love his work in DOROTHY, and there is nothing, and I do mean NOTHING this guy can’t play. Bassist Dave Corsile is totally locked in with him and together they redefine what it is to play in the pocket. Outstanding rhythm section. And the cherry on top of it all is vocalist Henry Derek (ACT OF DEFIANCE). Going from cleans to the nastiest of growls in the blink of an eye, his voice is perfect for this nasty stuff.
“Restore the Truth” hits like a hammer, and then “No Words” comes along and saws your legs off while you’re already laying there with brains leaking out of your head. This, along with “Declination” are still vying for my favorite song. I will probably beat this to death, but again, the fucking RIFFS on this album, man. “Fear Takes Control” should have everyone in a five-mile radius air-jamming, and Derek has arguably his best vocal on the disc here. The solo on this track is tasty, too. Now, the intro to “Song For the Lost” will have you thinking it’s time for a rest. WRONG, thanks for playing! Tell him what he did win! A one-way ticket to Ass-Kicked City, boys!
Another song that really stood out was “Foreshadow” because those goddamn riffs once again, as well as Derek slaying his vocal parts, and Morris and Corsile just coming together with the common goal of wrecking everything and everyone in sight. “Idol of One” is a straight-ahead sonic beatdown, and I can only imagine the floor shaking at clubs everywhere when they perform it live. Morris truly has a field day with “Start Making Sense”and the entire group is right there with him. Title track “Safe Inside” is the change of pace many of you thought you were getting earlier, but that doesn’t mean it’s not heavy where it needs to be, with picturesque solos and one dark, sinister bass sound to boot.
Closing the disc is one big bastard of a tune in “Nothing Else Is Real”. It is like a wall of sound coming down on you one last time to make sure you stay down for the count. All told, Safe Inside is a stunner of an album from start to finish. Every track is a winner, and finds a perfect balance between melody and punch. THROWN INTO EXILE, your debut may have been a long time coming, but I’m sure I speak for many a metalhead out there when I say we’re sure glad you’ve arrived. Job well done, boys!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM