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  SCOTT ADAMS: TERROR AUSTRALIS

EXODUS
'Blood In Blood Out'
(Nuclear Blast)


scott adams



exodus

Like label mates Testament and Overkill, thrash veterans Exodus seem to be carrying the banner for the genre in a fashion the big four just can't manage in 2014; And like those two aforementioned bands, Exodus have come up with a new album just as good as anything they released in their heyday with 'Blood In, Blood Out'.

Okay, that might be pushing it a bit. 'BIBO' is no 'Bonded By Blood' but it does a bloody fine job at recreating the heady days of the first Zetro era, and I'm guessing for most long-term fans of this band that'll be enough.

That word "Zetro" is the key here; I don't pretend to know any of the ins and outs about Steve Souza's return to the fold, but I do know I'm bloody pleased he's back. Previous incumbent in the Exodus vocal seat Rob Dukes may have possessed a fearful blast furnace of a voice, but it was essentially a cookie-cutter early 21st century extreme Metal voice, lacking in personality or vim.

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Gary Holt clearly wanted to make an album tinged with memories of the band's mid eighties pomp, and when you listen to the syncopated, staccato madness of tracks like the title track or the simply monstrous 'Collateral Damage' you'll understand why Zetro simply had to return.

In interviews concerning the songs on this album given before he got the boot, Dukes called the material on 'Blood In...' more "punky", but frankly that's about as wide of the mark as Joey Barton last time he was looking for somewhere to put out his cigar; It might be punk if your idea of punk is simply the songs being fast.

But tracks like 'Collateral Damage' are, in my opinion, simply absolutely classic pieces of trad thrash. Steamroller drumming, viciously damaging yet surgically precise riffing and off the chain soloing, with an infectious gang vocalled-chorus and Zetro's inimitable hate-filled maniacal roar all combining to create a perfect five and a half minutes of thrash nirvana.

It's actually exciting to listen to, something that can't really be said about anything on the most recent albums by Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax or Megadeth, reinforcing the notion that the 'Big 4' of thrash should probably now consist of Exodus, Testament, Overkill and Kreator on current form.

Jeebs, even Kirk Hammett sounds like a Metal thrashing maniac as he supplies a guest solo to the scything 'Salt The Wound', reaching heights he's not even threatened to scale in years in his day job. The guard isn't just changing, it's re-energising and rearming itself for the future.

In the Dukes era quite a few people in my acquaintance complained that the band were writing songs that were too long, in danger of disappearing up their own backsides in the search for crushingly complicated killing capacity, and I have to say I'd agree with that.

I wanted snappier, to the point thrashing, and to a degree that returns on 'BIBO'. Sure there are plenty of longer songs to be heard here, but the writing and performances seem so much leaner, the arrangements hungrier, meaning those slight feelings of ennui you might have encountered previously just aren't allowed to gestate.

The album's two longest songs, 'Body Harvest' and 'Btk', simply never allow the listener a breath as they rove restlessly through yet more superb playing ('Body Harvest' in particular features some absolutely epic soloing from Holt and guitar buddy Lee Altus) to think 'this is dragging on a bit, isn't it?'

I could go on, but you've probably got the idea by now – Exodus are back! And as Zetro stripes another layer of paint from your furniture whilst you listen, you'll find the years rolling back, till it's like he's never been away. Glorious stuff.


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22.10.14


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