• Exodus - Blood In Blood Out (2014) - Snort in, spit out - 14% (11/10/14)

    Exodus - Blood In Blood Out (2014)

    Over the past few years, I’ve really grown into the thrash metal scene and adore several records by the Big 4 Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica and Slayer, the Teutonic three with Destruction, Kreator and Tankard and other honorable mentions such as New Jersey legends Overkill, Bay Area legends Death Angel, the more progressive Quebeckers from Voivod and their modern incarnations called Vektor and even more obscure bands like the Japanese Gargoyle and Sex Machineguns for example. I even got to like some hardcore influenced thrash metal from Stormtroopers of Death up to Ação Libertária. Exodus is not only one of the latest bands I’ve discovered in that genre but overall one of those few thrash metal bands I didn’t get into yet even though some fans keep on saying that “Bonded by Blood” is one of, if not the best thrash metal release ever and that this band should have made it into the Big 4 instead of Anthrax.

    From my point of view, Exodus features exchangeable, fast and brutal riffs, an unstable bass guitar work that has some shining moments while it’s completely inaudible in other tracks and a technically decent drumming. All these elements sound close to some early Overkill and maybe Kreator tracks without reaching the quality of these two bands. The worst thing about this new record is the vocals. It sounds like an odd mixture of an angry Donald Duck and Overkill’s Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth but Steve “Zetro” Souza’s bickered and monotonous barking has no recognition value whatsoever to me.

    The record starts with an overlong and plodding intro and evolves into a completely exchangeable ten-minute long thrash metal song with an average rhythm section, worn-out riffs and monotonous lead vocals supported by occasional gang shouts and a guest singer nobody has ever heard about and who feels like he wasn’t even there at all… oh, wait, it’s not a ten-minute long track, these are actually two songs! Well, they sound so alike and unspectacular that I didn’t realize that they were actually separated at some point in the first place. By the way, this element is somehow the guiding line of the record because it won’t get any better.

    “Salt the Wounds” got some attention prior to the release of this album because it features a guest appearance of Metallica guitarist and ex-Exodus member Kirk Hammett. Nobody openly admits to care about or even like Metallica anymore but people obviously secretly do. That’s a clever strategy to push this release a little bit as the last few Exodus releases didn’t sell quite well and got underwhelming reviews. It’s no surprise though that this song can’t fulfill its expectations and is even among the weaker tracks on here. The somewhat tinny drum sound and the boring riffs that don’t fit at all to the vocal performance are a big letdown. Kirk Hammett’s predictable wah-wah-solo makes me wonder if he can still play any solo without using that pedal over and over again. The lyrics feel like a laughable Cannibal Corpse rip-off and don’t make things any better. Instead of being one of the few highlights, that is even one of the weakest songs on here.

    “Body Harvest” actually has a simple yet energizing chorus and a brutal lead riff that shakes things up but instead of delivering three minutes of energizing punk-driven thrash metal, Exodus stretches the song to six minutes and a half and includes a completely unspectacular instrumental section that ruins an otherwise tolerable song. It seems to be a laughable current trend for grown-old thrash metal bands to stretch their songs to unbearable lengths without any reason. One can find several similar examples on Blood In Blood Out as well.

    Exodus invited a third guest singer in form of Testament’s Chuck Billy to get even more recognition. Testament surely is slightly more interesting than Exodus but the vocals simply don’t differ enough to build up an intriguing contrast to the main singer on this unimpressive seven-minute long piece of boredom. By the way, another song about “BTK” is far from being original. Please listen to Church of Misery’s atmospheric and gripping instrumental song of the same name instead.

    Is there actually any at least bearable track on this coaster or frisbee, depending on which version you prefer? Well, there is. “My Last Nerve” has a few interesting guitar melodies leading to a chorus that differs from the others. The song manages to develop a certain atmosphere and is also technically stunning. There is a short break dominated by the vivid use of the bass guitar which is a welcome change of style where Jack Gibson can finally show off his talent.

    One decent song out of eleven or twelve is definitely not enough. Exodus released not only another weak record but even one of the most uninspired genre albums I have ever listened to. It was a true pain to sit through the entire record. Do yourself a favour and ignore the clever marketing strategy based around the guest appearances by Kirk Hammett and Chuck Billy. Let Exodus be that overlooked underground band that only a few grown old genre maniacs appreciate for nostalgic reasons. There are way better old and new American thrash metal bands around that are worth your attention.

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