Exalt Pale Light

Exalt Pale Light
Signing to New Damage Records will enable Kitchener, Ontario's Exalt to inflict some of their own. The band have been delivering devastation since 2010, but a wider reach should hopefully give them the audience they deserve.

Pale Light is simultaneously stripped down and beefed up compared to Exalt's debut LP, Breach False Minds. The streamlining results in less chaos a la '90s metalcore (Converge, Coalesce, Botch, etc.), with only "Flesh to Ash" really resembling their 2012 incarnation. Meanwhile, the amplification in atmosphere makes the album weightier in a sense that pure aggression — something that is definitely still present in droves — simply can't. Case in point: the noise of "Palmcarver" and post-everything title track — think Celeste if they were creating anthems for the Cult of Exalt instead of for arson.

The most prevalent sound is still metallic hardcore, or in this case nu metallic hardcore. While some bands may downplay the influence of nu metal's simple but heavy formula, Exalt embrace it, as on album standout "Greying." The song runs the gamut of the band's collective sounds, converging in an alternatingly vicious/victorious breakdown. Guitarist Ben Waugh's vocals add a dynamism to the hardcore-standard yelling, as do the straightforward cyclical riffs ("Deafen," "Worn As Earth") that temper the tantrum exuded by the exasperated Exalt.

Pale Light is a bit of a misnomer; the shine coming off of one of hardcore's most promising bands is so bright that it's nearly blinding. (New Damage)