I have thrown my X up at every Excision show I’ve been to, though I’d already been throwing it up since the 90s when Xzibit and DMX were running the scene. When I first listened to Excision, I was convinced that he heavily sampled both rappers (though I’ve since realized I was regrettably wrong). Excision has been breaking necks for over a decade. During that time he’s released five studio albums, not including remixes and compilations. Listening to them in chronological order, you can see the evolution that he’s taken over the years.
In 2011, Excision released his debut album “X Rated”. It seems that during this period Excision was figuring out what his sound would be. If you were to listen to this album, aside from the title track, it would be difficult to discern that it was Excision playing. Some tracks like “Execute”, “Ohhh Noo”, and “The Underground” have a more poppy feel to them, with only a slight Dubstep undertone. Mixed deeper into this album are “Sleepless” and “Jaguar”, a couple songs that slow things down. While Excision has never shied from dropping the BPM, these tracks lacked the powerful drops that future releases contain. While this is Excision, it’s not really the Excision I have come to know and love. This is not a bad album by any means, but also not one I find myself getting excited over.
Moving into 2013, Excision became a part of the supergroup Destroid, which also consisted of Downlink and KJ Sawka (the drummer of Pendulum). In addition to overall production, Excision and Downlink shred on MIDI guitars with KJ Sawka on the drums. Heavily costumed to complete the space theme of the album “Destroid – The Invasion”, I can only imagine what a wild tour that must have been. Stripping all that away, this album begins to lose its shine. Aside from the introductions in “Destroid 1 Raise Your Fist” and “Destroid 2 Wasteland”, and the hip-hop of “Destroid 4 Flip the Switch”, this album is largely lyricless (with the occasional “Destroid” peppered across multiple tracks). If you are looking for an album that hits hard with constant bass, something fun to not take too seriously, and filled with the sounds of lasers firing all around, then this album is perfect for you. It’s guaranteed to blow your speakers if you’re brave enough to crank the volume.
Full of hard-hitting drops and free-flowing rappers, Excision cemented his signature style with 2015’s “Codename X”. It features heart pumping and body moving tracks like “Out of Time”, “X Up”, and “Bring the Madness”. This album also has a bit of fun with the classic “Robo Kitty” meowing through your sound system. My favorite track on the album is Excision’s collaboration with The Frim on “Night Shine”. It’s a steady, melodic build that lends itself to a frenzied drop. “Codename X” is the album that pulled me towards Excision, and I think it is very apparent why.
The following year, Excision blessed us with the “Virus” album. This played on repeat on my Spotify for weeks on end. The title track sets up the album, warning you that the X-virus has been released into the world (and it’s not wrong). “Neck Brace”, “Throwin’ Elbows”, “G Shit”, and “Final Boss” can all be found on this album. If you are a fan of Dub (and I know you are), you will have undoubtedly heard these tracks mixed into countless DJ sets. Creating a more somber tone, “Drowning” pulls hard at your heartstrings. This song has all the feels, and definitely not something that will liven a party. “Africa” follows, picking up a bit of speed, while still allowing the dark cloud to continue on its path. The final power track is titled “Harambe”, named after the captive gorilla that had been killed earlier that year. It’s difficult not to gush over each and every track, but this is by far my overall favorite Excision album. If you have to choose between every album mentioned here, pick this one.
Releasing “Apex” in 2018, “Wake Up”, “Gold (Stupid Love)”, and “Die For You” will put cracks in your soul. Each bringing back memories of past breakups and broken hearts, these tracks will still give you the need to headbang, but in a melancholy kind of way. “Exterminate”, “1 On 1”, and “Power” are some of his many bass crushing tracks that give you the sensation of a T-Rex being hot on your heels. “Fight Through the Pain” is exactly what you would expect to hear when a collab with Sullivan King occurs. Heavy, broody, and aggressive, this is a song that will wake you up! “Vault” is one of the top tracks found in this album, a mixture of previous Excision hits. While it does take a few minutes to really start, when it does you will never want it to end. Excision’s usual collaborators (Space Laces, Dion Timmer, and Messinian) can all be found in this album as well, each bringing their unique flavor to the mix.
Between releasing LPs and creating ridiculously impressive visuals for his tours, Excision has released a number of other albums as well. Each studio album is proceeded by a full remix album (with the exception of “Codename X”, which only has a couple tracks remixed) the following year. Excision has also been releasing an annual Shambhala mix from 2008 to 2016, which has transitioned to a Lost Lands mix from 2017 and forward. He is a machine that never seems to sleep and is agile in the delivery of his music, almost like some kind of robotic feline.
*Excision at Lost Lands | Image Via Official Website*