My Own Army

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Female-fronted metal bands are not hard to find in Italy. Most of them are gothic metal bands, the most famous being the Milan-based Lacuna Coil. In fact, the Italian metal scene is so closely identified with female-fronted gothic metal bands that whenever an Italian metal band has a female lead singer, some headbangers automatically assume that their music is gothic metal. But despite the fact that Exilia have a female lead singer, Masha Mysmane, and come from Milan, they aren't gothic metal and don't sound anything like Lacuna Coil or Macbeth (another female-fronted gothic metal band from Milan). My Own Army is clearly alternative metal (or nu-metal, if you prefer), and Exilia's sound could be described as L7 meets Korn (minus the hip-hop influence) with elements of Pat Benatar. No one will mistake Mysmane's vocal style for gothic metal singing or accuse her of trying to emulate Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia. Mysmane offers a raspy, husky, hard-edged vocal style; she doesn't have a pretty voice by any means -- and while that might be unfashionable in goth circles (women in gothic metal and goth rock often favor darkly angelic vocal styles), it works well for Exilia on forceful alt metal tracks such as "Far from the Dark," "The Hunter," and "Deleted." Mysmane's roughness also serves the band well on an unlikely cover of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight"; Exilia maintain the song's moodiness but make it rock a lot harder and demonstrate that a Phil Collins hit, can, in fact, acquire alt metal appeal with the right arrangement. My Own Army isn't quite as consistent as it could have been, but there are more ups than downs on this generally decent alt metal outing.

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