Los Angeles can be hard when it comes to its talent. Many a band has risen and fallen within moments of their inception, often falling due to the rigors of being in a band or in most cases, lineup changes that leave the band stranded without contingencies. I have bore witness to many changes that Thrown Into Exile has gone through, in fact, I don’t remember a time where there wasn’t a new member that accompanied them whenever they got on stage….and surviving so many before putting out their first full length LP. Playing as an opener for numerous big headlining bands and ducking it out against the violent nature of the business, I must admit, it is a proud moment to see yet another Los Angeles band put out something other than the disbanded tag on their social media. Their EP had stirred the pot up in our little underground clique and it is understandable why due to the various influences the band had given through their melodies, screeches and interludes of clean vocals. It was a rush of nostalgia that filled our ears with notes of Chimaira, Killswitch Engage, God Forbid and various other 90s style metalcore bands.
Safe Inside throws you straight into exile, pun intended, with its pristine production quality. The guitars are razor sharp and drums pummeling with booming bass to back it up giving you a feel that you were running with the bulls in Pamplona. Act of Defiance vocalist, Henry Derek Bonner, is quite a nice addition and pushes the band to sound a bit more original in their sound with his banshee like screeches mixed with a nice high pitched medium. His cleans are controlled and accent the melodies of the guitars quite nicely and help push the band away from its previous sound that reminisced so closely to Killswitch Engage. Every track has something catchy that keeps you glued in to see what will the only remaining member, Mario, will bring to the table and most of the time he brings forth the fire and brimstone.
As much as I’d like to rave about the newfound anger and brilliant production, all these new additions don’t hinder the band by any means, but doesn’t propel them either. I would like to acknowledge the band in a serious manner, but I can’t help but feel that it was never meant to bring up anything new, but rather to resurrect the archaic choir that use to fill the halls of the lost Atlantis with its awkward sounds of lost identity. With that in mind, this album can feel a bit flat after a couple of spins, not because you gain familiarity with every spin of the album, but rather it feels flat because it sounds familiar.
Bands are producing music at a furious rate. Most of it goes unseen and fall into obscurity until random people like myself or avid listeners uncover the lost hatch at a time that is already too late. It’s very cathartic and often gratifying to go back to a time that you felt comfortable listening to music that tipped you over to darker side of music. I feel that this is where the band has the upper hand, for it’s something that you will pull out and go back to time and again because it is nice to be reminded of the reasons why we like heavy metal or to revisit our roots. I think the band is capable of much more in terms of originality; hopefully they will tamper around with more death/thrash side in the not too distant future. For those who are involved in the Los Angeles metal scene, it’s basically a household name Thrown Into Exile and there’s a reason why. Much respect.
Safe Inside will be out October 21 via Urban Yeti Records and can be pre-ordered right here.