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Sunday, October 17, 2010

From Exile at The Goat Farm, Fri., Oct. 15

After nearly three years in the void, From Exile's return in the Rodriguez Room at the Goat Farm on Friday night had the feel of a great big warehouse party; just across the way from the big room where Goat Farm shows usually happen. It's a big concrete box, so naturally the sound ricocheted off of the walls until it hits your ears at terminal velocity. Remember what Eyedrum sounded like before they hung those acoustic cushions from the ceiling? You get the picture. From Exile played to a mostly packed room, so all of those soft bodies soaked up the sound, giving the show a good, even keel, sharp edges intact.

The five members of From Exile stood opposite the room's entrance, mostly staring at their shoes while their fingers moved up and down their fret boards like spiders as they tore through a web of heavy rhythms and blackened prog stylings culled from the group's '09 CD, Monolith. Only a few songs into the set it became apparent that From Exile isn't really a metal band per se. Metal is certainly an influence, and "prog" applies, but both terms walk all over the subtle intricacies of the music. It's fast and complex, but the music's many working parts don't draw attention to themselves — the music has more in common with Fugazi than Rush, and it's more on akin to Kylesa than King Crimson.This dynamic really stood out in a bleak, but expansive cover of Nine Inch Nail's "Ruiner."

The group's singer, guitarist and principle song writer Eric Guenther (right) stood at the front and center of it all, sans any dialogue with the crowd. The rest of the band remained tight-lipped as well, glancing at each other during changes, and giving each other nods of approval when the audience shouted between songs. Guenther clearly has a stronger stage presence than the rest of the group, but give them a break. They're new guys for the most part, and these songs don't look like they're easy to play at all. But it sounded good, and this grand return to playing live felt like the seed of something much larger... Monolith was just the beginning.

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