AOTY 2023

Ex Eye

Ex Eye - Ex Eye
Critic Score
Based on 7 reviews
2017 Ratings: #244 / 933
User Score
Based on 86 ratings
2017 Ratings: #202
Liked by 4 people
June 23, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Relapse / Label
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These musicians understand that heaviness is most effective when balanced by some light, making their debut both inventively punishing and soaring.
This is incredibly heavy music made light (joyful, even) by the zeal and power of its players. By plowing into, through, and ultimately out of the dark, Ex Eye is an ecstatic fusion—an exhilarating exclamation of defiance, no warning required.
It’s clear from the fire and wreckage in these four tracks that this group isn’t just out to perform technically proficient avant-garde jazz metal. There’s a disturbing core of darkness in each song that makes the album come to life, expressing hidden feelings the listener might not want to uncover.
Ex Eye’s self-titled debut is an intriguing amalgam of black metal, progressive rock, minimalism, and free jazz while not sounding of a piece with any representative artist from those genres. Like fellow maverick saxophonist John Zorn, Stetson is paving his own way through the waters of extreme music, making albums that make catharsis physical.
While the music on this self-titled offering is breathtaking in its intensity, beauty, and mystery, what's even more incomprehensible is that this quartet manages to challenge, realign, and perhaps even redefine the entire post-metal landscape in 28 short minutes.

This supergroup debut sees Colin Stetson dabble into the world of metal. You read that right, metal with a saxophone. The result is a strangely beautiful avant-jazz metal record with great production, outstanding compositions and some amazing percussion from Greg Fox.

Fav Tracks: Opposition/Perihelion; the Coil, Xenolith; the Anvil, Anaitis Hymnal; the Arkose Disc

Least Fav Track: Form Constant; the Grid



I never thought a metal album could be so beautiful but because metal is so inherently excessive, this album sounds excessively beautiful. I'm not much of a metal fan so I can attest to the fact that this is a metal album for people who don't like metal!


For me, Ex Eye finds a unique point in the venn diagram between jazz fusion and extreme metal with their debut. The songs here are absolutely primeval, with Stetson's saxophone melding perfectly with the rest of the band's pummeling instrumentation to evoke nature at its most destructive and chaotic. The band it reminds me of most is Cynic, though Ex Eye are even grander in their instrumental-only approach which often employs the winding structures of post-rock to contain their overwhelming ... read more

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Added on: June 13, 2017