Exitus: Statutum Est Hominibus Mori (2013 Reissue)

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Exitus: Statutum Est Hominibus Mori (2013 Reissue)
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Exitus: Statutum Est Hominibus Mori
Doom Metal, Thrash Metal
Self-released, Svart Records (2013)
1990 / August 23rd, 2013
Release length: 14:38 / 32:37
Back in 1989, Vantaa, Finalnd played host to a new Doom and Thrash Metal group named Exitus. Sadly, the band didn’t last too long. In fact, after releasing their début, Statutum Est Hominibus Mori in 1990, the band split-up. Eventually vocalist Santtu Laakso, who was also involved with the band Oppression at the time, and guitarist Petri “Sadisti” Sadinmaki went on to create a Space Rock group named Dark Sun. Sadly, the extremely limited demo and lineage of Exitus seemed to forever be lost. That is, until Svart Records came along to make it available again on vinyl, as well as include a never before released rehearsal tape on CD, all of which has been remastered. So, is this dead band’s only official release worth reviving, or is it just too badly decomposed.

The demo seems to be sorted a bit differently according to the track list I received with the digital promo. Instead of “Reprobate,” things kick off with “Intro: The Metamorphosis,” a heavier piece that mixes some sharper riffs with a bleak atmosphere, moving at a mid-tempo pace for the most part, but does pick up from time to time before bleeding into “Black Heritage.” This song shows a good deal of similarity to Death, laced with early blackened Thrash. The only thing really missing is some falsettos at key times. The technical riffs and medium-range bass really grab the listener, and when things become a bit more chaotic, it’s impossible to not feel the tension building up, especially right before it slows to a trudging pace about two and a half minutes in, shifting to a solid guitar solo with a haunting echo utlized.

“Reprobate” does show some of the wear from the original pressing from time to time. The song and rawer analogue quality sound great, but time to time you hear the music quickly cut out, or just become a lot weaker, as if an issue with the demo tape itself, perhaps having been crumpled from the tape deck trying to eat it. Despite these issues, things chug along with a dismal, helpless atmosphere for a solid five minutes. The grim environment doesn’t really hit you upside the head with a completely desolate setting, but it’s still heavy enough to keep you attentive. Things eventually speed up very briefly, which is nice for a little change, but then shifts back to the simpler performance once more, closing with a stronger focus on the bass to give the lasting memory a little more bite.

The rest seems to come off the unreleased rehearsal recording, and overall it’s very interesting to hear. “A Light in the Darkness” is an acoustic piece, though the tuning sounds horribly off in a negative way, but is fixed during the richer, more abrasive instrumental “Hymn to Sorrow.” After a small bit of silence, “Teas of Despair” kicks in with a slower, colder, heavy performance that brings technicality in some spots. The guitar solo that hits is well done, and the additional hint of melody in the rougher growls helps give the track a creepy vibe. “Thanatos” shows the Doom Metal side a little better, finding a dark shadow cast over the trudging pace thanks to the colder lead chords in the minute long introduction, giving way to a catchy rhythm that will have you bobbing your head along as it shifts in and out of changes to speed and style. Things become faster and more technical about five minutes in, and, while only a short outburst, it makes the melancholic performance behind the tight guitar solo that follows even sweeter.

After one spin through the demo tape portion of the 2013 reissue for Statutum Est Hominibus Mori, it’s hard to believe the band called it quits so early. The recording is a tight performance from five individuals that perfectly fit the Death Metal style of its time, which should have led to some kind of label opportunity. But, the rehearsal tape that is included just isn’t as good, catering more to simpler Doom Metal presence that often has a solid atmosphere, but doesn’t have the bite to really grab the listener. Then there’s the fact that this is all remastered. It would have been nice to have the original version of the two songs from the tape included untouched, but, even altered, this reissue sounds great, and still makes it possible to check out for those interested in owning or hearing a rare piece of Metal history. It’s a shame Exitus called it quits so long ago, as you can’t help but walk away feeling there was much more that could have been brought to the table before it wound up being silenced forever, or until a festival approaches them with enough cash for a reunion show that resparks the drive they had back in 1989.

Initial Pressing:
01. Reprobate – 7:18
02. Tears of Despair / Hymn to Sorrow – 7:20

2013 Reissue:
01. Intro: The Metamorphosis – 1:38
02. Black Heritage – 6:11
03. Reprobate – 7:23
04. A Light in the Darkness – 0:55
05. Tears of Despair – 5:43
06. Hymn to Sorrow – 1:56
07. Thanatos – 8:54

Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

Exitus
Exitus

Digital review copy of this release provided by Svart Records.