The second reformation of Exodus continues apace with the release of ”Blood In Blood Out” on Nuclear Blast and the return of Steve ‘Zetro’ Sousa on vocals. Rob Dukes is probably hard done by, but I got into Exodus circa ”Pleasures of the Flesh” and “Fabulous Disaster” so for me his maniacal growl is the one I most associate with the Bay Area legends.
And we’re off… and the first thing I notice is the production by Andy Sneap which is absolutely stellar. Crisp, hard, brilliantly defined and totally in your face – it makes me wish the thrash albums of yesteryear had had such a wonderfully polished viciousness. Hold up though, I’m not sure about ‘Black 13’ – despite its extravagant length it feels like an extended intro, the opening tones are modern enough to be Chase & Status at their heaviest until the riff kicks in, but that’s maybe the best part of the song.
That aside, they have no damn right to sound so youthful , energised and righteously pissed off – God damn this is as fresh a thrash record as you’ll hear nowadays! Utterly committed, invigorated, unapologetic and crazed, like all the best thrash of old.There are some new elements at play, notably the brutal sludgecore that closes the terrific ‘Btk’. However, as lively as this record is, at eleven tracks it’s over long and I struggle to listen to it all in one sitting. (I could do without ‘Wrapped In The Arms of Rage’).
Exodus have always revelled in gore and along with the self cannibalising zombies on the cover we have the surgical nightmares of ‘Body Harvest’ within, the classic thrash gang shout vocals elevating it into an Exodus live favourite in the near future. The pit will be waiting for it, salivating.
‘Salt the Wound’ features early band member Kirk Hammett who solos along with Gary Holt in particularly gleeful style. As noteworthy as this is, Holt and Lee Altus are as good a twin guitar lead attack in existsance in the genre today and are all over this album with a vengeance.
Thrash metal itself is celebrated on title track ”Blood In Blood Out” – “tonight we’re gonna fight like it’s 1985″… and few bands can lay claim in such bullish manner to the ownership of the genre and continuing fealty to the cause.
The fact that they still have so many great riffs up their sleeves for closer ‘Food For The Worms’ – including an absolutely hectic intro, show that Exodus bow to no one in the world of thrash metal.
We salute you.