Live Music + Gig Reviews

Exit Ten @ Barfly, Cardiff

21 May 2007

Myspace. It seems all that Exit Ten want to talk about this evening. For the amount of times front man Ryan Redman drops the website a mention, you would think that the band owe their existence to the internet. But then you come to realise, that is exactly the case.

Having released the widely acclaimed This World, They’ll Drown EP last year, the Reading five-piece remain unsigned, with a string of UK tour dates continually in front of them. Were it not for their web-based profile, you have to wonder how many of the hundred or so Welsh GCSE students would have still thought the Barfly the best place to spend a Monday evening during exam time.

It is just as well, therefore, that Exit Ten have a sound that really does deserve to be heard. With a slickly-polished and, at times, awe-inspiring brand of metal to boast, the band display the kind of energy-fuelled proficiency to rival any dreadlock-slinging, bearded ensembles you would care to mention.

What makes them markedly different from what Metal Hammer has been so used to, however, is the presence of a truly talented vocalist. Redman looks every inch the fashion-core pin-up, but when he opens his mouth, he sounds less like a rhinoceros, and more like Jeff Buckley. Swinging from the ceiling by one arm, and stroking members of the front row at every opportunity, the focal point of the band is most definitely established.

To accommodate this unusual metal front man, Exit Ten are developing a sound that is infinitely more mature, restrained and more accomodating than their head-banging counterparts. Crowd favourites Softwatch and Better Than You still generate the required pit mayhem, but it is when new material, soon to be part of a forthcoming debut album, is showcased that the band leave an audience simply standing in appreciation.

Piece By Piece By Piece is a crushingly dark epic of a track, while a later track hinted at the progressive fury of Tool. There is even place for something of a ballad in Perish In The Flames which, belying its clich-ridden name, proves quite touching.

This amalgamation of styles, of course, leaves the band a wealth of channels to explore as they continue to develop. If Myspace can help this band achieve the notification they deserve, then perhaps the website is more than just haircuts and exclamation marks.

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Exit Ten @ Barfly, Cardiff