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Exit State - Death of a Rock Star

Review by J Appleby

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In 2009, Northern rockers, Exit State, let loose an EP with single called Bad Days and now they are gearing up for their debut album release called Death of a Rockstar available after May 31st.  I’m not one for over the top hyperbole and adjectives to review music but some previous reviews have described the album as meaty, high-octane and satisfying.  Now that’s out of the way, let’s cut to the chase.

Death of a Rockstar offers nuances of metal, indie, grunge and rock that would fit easily on let’s say Kerrang Radio’s playlist while relying on lyrics of angst and turmoil.  The cover art of Death of a Rockstar features a bloated, Converse-wearing rocker dude passed out or if the title is anything to go by, dead on a sofa.  This sofa is surrounded by the remnants of the quintessential rock-n-roll lifestyle - smashed TV, strewn pizza boxes and empty beer bottles.  There are even some interesting icons of classic rock.  It’s like an intricate little game to decipher the meanings of the symbolism. For example, there’s a naked baby doll chasing after a dollar bill which is reverence to Nirvana’s Nevermind cover.

First track, 'Lost Beyond Belief', opens up with a layered build up of drums, bass and vocalist Roy Bright inhales deeply; the song rips into a very dense guitar rhythm and driving hook freshened up with a nice key change. The next song, 'Out ‘till 3', continues the theme with what I can only describe as an early Foo Fighters no-nonsense approach.  This is proceeded by 'Dominates Me' that incorporates a 90s metal riff but is fully grounded with clean, lyrical vocals.

Title track, 'Death of a Rockstar Part 'I, intros with chimes and a slow ballad emanates and gives a rewarding change to the essence of the album with lyrics of melancholy, loneliness and loss.  Lyrics, “Raise the gun to my head, here I go” is followed by a quickened pace of guitars and drums seamlessly into 'Death of a Rockstar Part II'.  It’s the kind of style that post-grunge often use to express inner-demons and failure - start thinking Staind.

Anguish and dominating guitars continue through the last half of the album with 'Bad Days' and 'Dirty Intoxicated' before cumulating into the last couple of tracks that use heavily echoed vocals, staccato guitars and flickering drum breaks.  The last track, 'And She Said', incorporates minor chords that produce that heart-wrenching feeling complete with choir of na-na-nas, synth strings, plunky acoustic guitar and fades out.

Exit State are:
Roy Bright (vocals/guitars)
Peat Hicks (drums/vocals)
Phil Ireland (bass/vocals)
Adam Stephenson (guitars)

Track Listing:
01.    Lost Beyond Belief
02.    Out ‘till 3
03.    Dominates Me
04.    Death of a Rockstar Part 1
05.    Death of a Rockstar Part 2
06.    Bad Days
07.    Dirty Intoxicated
08.    I Know Where You Are
09.    And She Said

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