Grrrrroooovy and hammering!
Exodus always was (one of) my favourite thrash bands and I count them up there with genre titans like Slayer, Testament and (old) Metallica. And with this album, I still do.
Even though there’s only two original members left (drummer Tom Hunting and guitarist/mastermind Gary Holt), it’s obvious from the moment the second number kicks off (the first being a short instrumental intro), that this can’t be anything else than Exodus. How Gary Holt still can come up with riffs that are so unmistakeably Exodus, and yet doesn’t sound repetitive, really is impressive.
Tom Hunting decided to return to the job behind the barrels (after an absence on the previous album); pushing Paul Bostaph into the lines of unemployment (not that he’s likely to stay there long with his playing abilities). Hunting’s style of playing and sound in the mix (this is the way drums are supposed to sound like in real metal - I’ve bought my 10,000+ $ Sonor drum kit because of the sound on Exodus’ later albums, no kidding!), is for me an important part of the real “old” Exodus-sound. Therefore, even though P.B. is an awesome drummer, I welcome T.H. back – very potent and powerful drumming on this one too, dude!
The overall sound is great and very much Exodus: deep, crunchy and powerful, as you know it from the later albums. Andy Sneap did a good job with the production of this one.
Only setback for me is the absence of Steve Souza… by all means Rob Dukes (again) does a more than decent job behind the mic with power and aggressiveness (sounding a lot like Pro Pain vocalist Gary Meskil, especially on the first tracks), but for me “Zetro”, and his high pitched screams and snarling voice always was a very important part of the Exodus sound, so I’m still very sorry they couldn’t work it out together.
According to a fairly new interview with Holt, the band already have four songs recorded and finished for the next album, and apparently they will resume recording later this year, this then being the first of a two-part record (surprisingly part two is supposed to be called exhibit B!!). If the next holds the standard of this one, we definitely have something to look forward to.
In spite of numerous setbacks in their band history, Exodus still comes back strong repeatedly, and thanks God (or who ever) for that! They reign in thrash!
Recommended tracks: Yes – all of them, each for something different – no fillers!