EXARSIS – Sentenced To Life

EXARSIS - Sentenced To Life
  • 8.7/10
    EXARSIS - Sentenced To Life - 8.7/10


Release date: November 27, 2020

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Sentenced To Life is the fifth album from Greek Thrashers Exarsis, and their first since 2017’s controversial New War Order, the release of which resulted in accusations of antisemitism for the album cover and anti-Zionist themes. The band vehemently denied the accusations in a statement on their Facebook page (clarifying they hate all organised religions but not the individuals who may believe in them, essentially), but the experience seems to have provided grist for their creative mill. O.G. Thrashers may recall the burst of topical responses by bands like Megadeth back when they were facing criticism and censure from the PMRC and other institutions of the Christian right. Thrash’s anger is always more deeply felt when the anger derives from personal experience rather than being more general in nature.

Censorship is a theme throughout Sentenced To Life, and approached directly in the introductory opening cut “Censored” and in the incendiary lead single “Mouthtied”. “Accused for your art/Integrity lost at any cost”–the lyrics are belted out with real anger by singer Nick Dragakis, who alternates a growling delivery with his more typical high-note screaming. A short instrumental “The Drug…” follows, giving listeners their one and only chance during the album to breathe.

The controversy surrounding the last album isn’t the only thing bringing extra energy to the band. Two new members have joined Dragakis and bassist Chris Poulous; founding member Chris Tsitsis (Suicide Angels) returns on guitar and Panos Meletis is now behind the kit. Switching out half of a Thrash band is certain to alter the sound; Sentenced to Life has the band playing as fast as ever but also more melodically than on previous releases.

Tsitsis’ style and ability to crack out frenzied solos make him a better match for Dragakis’ high-flying delivery than his predecessors. He compensates for the loss of a second guitar with his speed, changing the sound of the band from one based on slower, twin riffing to a more frenetic approach relying on dexterity and innovation. His work on “The Truth Is No Defense” is a great example of his influence on the new sound of the band, where he adds some unexpected flourishes and textures. The rhythm section can stop on a dime, as they do on the break following a swift Tsitsis solo on “Aiming The Eye”. The deep pocket grooves they create for Tsitsis and Dragakis to lay heat over are rock solid, complex, and delivered with bone-jarring intensity.

Exarsis could have played it safe after New War Order but instead came out with all guns blazing, delivering the best album yet of their career.


  • Daniel Waters

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. Iron Maiden’s Piece Of Mind wasn’t the first Metal album he owned, but it was the one that lifted the lid off his soul when he received the record as a gift on his 15th birthday. He's been a Metal fan ever since. He's probably best known as the author of various Young Adult novels such as the Generation Dead series and the ghost story Break My Heart 1,000 Times, now also a major motion picture entitled I Still See You, starring Bella Thorne. Writing and music, especially Heavy Metal music, has always been inextricably linked in his mind and career. His first paid gig doing any type of writing was for Cemetery Dance, where he wrote a horror-themed music column called Dead Beats, and when he was writing the first Generation Dead novel he had a ritual where he started his writing day with a Metal playlist that kicked off with “Crushing Belial” by Shadows Fall.

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