Overall Score: 5.7/10 Riffs: 6/10 Mixing: 3/10 Potential: 8/10 Pros: Competent songwriting | Good guitar tone | Strong vocals Cons: Highly inconsistent mix | Band at times seems to push themselves too far
Sweet Exile are a young alternative metal group from Leeds, who are currently working on their debut EP. Before that, though, we have this demo, which was released in 2014. I always hate reviewing demos because the rough nature of them makes it difficult to give a positive review, but while not assured to be a sure sign of their final style, there is a nice mix of styles from Evanescence style alternative metal to more groove oriented tracks which is a good sign for a young band just starting out.
Frontwoman Lauren Leigh has a very strong voice and her range and adaptability to the music behind her (from the nu-metal of the opening tracks to a more groove metal/heavy metal oriented second half) is commendable, with definite nods to frontwomen Amy Lee and Alissa White-Gluz in her delivery. With a voice like that in front of your band you should do very well for yourself and with good riff writers on guitar providing tight grooves (see the end of “Guilty”) the ingredients are there, albeit very rough and in need of refinement. There are some very impressive moments, particularly in opener “No Angel” and in closer “Ragnarok” (particularly with a very nice solo in “Ragnarok”), however these at times feel somewhat cancelled out by the flaws.
This is just a demo, so production was never going to be the greatest. However, you are sometimes distracted by the poor mixing of the instruments which leaves some parts feeling out of place or barely heard at all (such as the harsh vocals in opening track “No Angel”). Once they hit the studio you’d hope that they can remedy this. The guitar tone is nice and thick and with a little cleaning up and balancing in the mix, it could really carry the band’s sound. The lead vocals are a little too high in the mix as well, but this should also not be a problem by the time they prepare for a full studio release. The only other concern is that in faster moments, it does feel a little as if they’re pushing their limits a little far with some very messy drumming at times in “Guilty”.
Overall, though, this is a band still learning their trade and it’ll be good to see how they learn and progress. The right ingredients are there, but the band still needs to find their comfort zone and work from there in order to find a sound and perfect it. A 5/10 rating feels incredibly harsh on the band but I have every confidence that their debut EP will put paid to that.
Sweet Exile are currently working on their debut EP. You can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sweetexileband