Technical and/or progressive deathcore can often be a treat, at least as long as you aren’t the type that retches at the idea of breakdowns. Italian group Despite Exile certainly fall into the category, offering up a hefty dose of choppy riffs, blasting drum-work, and more than enough aggression and melody to keep things fairly interesting throughout. The addition of melodeath riffing (most notably in the excellent “Of Imaginary Shipwrecks”) and bursts of blackened malevolence keeps things afloat through the rough patches. Unfortunately, those happen more often than they should, and a good portion of those are seemingly due to a lack of any energy. That sounds odd, and I think it’s mostly due to the brick-walled production, but the breakdowns lack any urgency, and the tech-y bits aren’t particularly technical or interesting.
In a lot of ways, this feels like a safe release, checking off a lot of boxes (see above) but lacking in personality. Bands can overcome a sense that they are easy-going and generic if they at least inject a certain amount of energy and/or personality. The problem with Relics is that Despite Exile seem to lack both. There are hints that the band could certainly do better, but that’s not the case here.