One advantage to writing for ThisIsNotAScene is that I am exposed to bands I might not normally have a chance to be exposed to. Both a blessing and a curse. Not just because I do not have a frame of reference for some of the bands that I choose to review. Sometimes, like in this case with the Belgian death metal band Exoto, I can barely find any background information on the band. From what I can gather, the band was formed in Mol, Antwerp, in 1989. They put out a few demos between 1990 and 1992 before releasing their first full length album in 1994 titled “Carnival of Souls.” Exoto released a second album in 1995 titled “A Thousand Dreams Ago.” Sometime after its release the band broke up. Then, in 2012, the band reformed. “Beyond the Depths of Hate,” released on Vic Records October 7, 2014, is the product of that reformation.
“Beyond the Depths of Hate” is, for all intents and purposes, an Exoto greatest hits collection. Out of the seventeen tracks on the album, twelve are from the band’s previous recordings. Minus the intro, the weird interlude ‘Into the Final Chapter,’ and outro, the remaining two new tracks were recorded by the reformed band for this release. I am not sure if the old songs were re-mastered, or if Exoto traveled back in time to record the new tracks, but somehow the album sounds like all the songs were recorded at the same time. That’s not a bad thing! The album has a good clean analog sound, and all instruments are represented well in the mix.
It’s not just the sound quality of the album that takes you back to the early days of death metal. The two new songs on ‘Beyond the Depths of Hate,’ the title track, and ‘Culture of Death,’ sound like they could have come from any of Exoto’s original demos. Flip Boonen and Wilek lay down Grave-like riffs over Molly’s popping snare blasts. Chris Meynen’s vocals haven’t lost a step over the years. They are still as raspy and demonic as ever.
I am not sure if “Beyond the Depths of Hate” is a reintroduction to Exoto or the final curtain call. The band still has the Facebook page that helped reunite them, and they also have a Reverbnation profile. Either way, “Beyond the Depths of Hate” is a great representation of Exoto’s past, present, and possible future.