Exumer: The Raging Tides
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'The Raging Tides'
(Metal Blade)
Release Date: Friday 29th January 2016

scott adams


Ah, Exumer. Thirty years ago (and that in itself is a sobering thought) myself and my mates would amuse ourselves of a Friday night by getting pissed up on booze at the Iron Horse in Amersham and then cruising the night time streets of Buckinghamshire, windows down screaming along to 'Possessed by Fire', the title track of Exumer's coruscating debut album...

Four decades later, vocalist Mem V. Stein is still leading his troops into battle, and, while the band doesn't appear quite so unhinged as it did in those far-off, halcyon thrash days, there's still a lot to like about this, the band's fourth studio long player.

The first couple of tracks motor along nicely – if unobtrusively – before track number three, the raging 'Catatonic', really gets the party started. A ripping reconstruction of everything that's good about the classic Bay Area sound, 'Catatonic' condenses everything you need to know about what this band is trying to achieve into a neatly vicious three and a half minute long gobbet of filth.

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Likewise 'Sinister Souls' and 'Shadow Walker'; the latter in particular is a particularly fine piece of work, echoing but never aping the glory days of 'Exodus', replete with adamantine chugging and bile-fuelled gang vocals.

Did I mention adamantine chugging? Guitarists Ray Mensh and Marc B have got plenty of that, as well as the requisite soloing skills, making the whole of 'The Raging Tides' a must-listen for anyone interested in the finer details of thrash guitar.

If there's one small quibble to be raised it's that, for all the superior musicianship going on, the bass of T. Schiavo gets a little bit lost in Waldemar Sorychta's mix, leaving the bottom end a little lacking in places.

But that's a small concern, and by the time bonus tracks – 'Pentagram's Forever My Queen' and a take on the track 'Hostage to Heaven' which was originally recorded by Sorychta's Grip Inc – have finished you'll be wanting to get back to the start of The Raging Tides to go another round with one of thrash's most underrated veteran acts.

Trust me, you will...

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