EXILED, Exiled  (2002, Hellion)

The skull:
The fact that this is Exiled’s first-ever release — no demo, no EP, and on a fairly well-known label — and it looks like THIS tells you that almost no thought whatsoever went into the artwork. They’re like a baby fresh out of the womb that’s expected to get dressed in its finest and make an immediate public appearance. No wonder Exiled just went “uh…skull, that’s it!” Grab any skull you can find on your favorite clip-art page, make it glow and stamp a barcode on its forehead…voila! There you have your first album cover. Brilliant.

The music:
Well-crafted, highly energetic, aggressive power metal with plenty of speed but also enough timing shifts to keep you on your toes. The vocalist hovers in a mid-range, but dips low sometimes and every now and then well move to higher ground — he’s pretty good, although lacks something truly identifiable. The capability of each musician is fairly high too, and the songwriting is solid, if nothing groundbreaking. Exiled do what they do pretty well, delivering passion, darkness, melancholy and spirit in equal measure, played with remarkable ability, and you can’t help but like it at least a little bit. I wouldn’t return unless they really started finding their own unique muse, but it was good for one-time listen.
— Friar Wagner

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