Review Summary: The Big Four of thrash are fun and all, but still...4 of 4 thought this review was well written
...what about those thrashers who have fallen through the cracks over the years? Like Exodus? While not all of their albums have been successful music-wise, which definitely applies to their first two (Paul Baloff's irritating vocals really hurt Bonded, the songwriting on Pleasures is underwhelming, and both had too-weak productions), Ex finally got it all right on Fabulous Disaster, creating a very satisfying, very underrated slab of thrash.
While "The Last Act Of Defiance" makes for a disappointing album opener, with a too-long spoken-word intro and songwriting that never really hooks, Disaster hits its stride on the subsequent title track, with sharper, catchier riffing, greater songwriting intensity, and relentless momentum kept up all throughout. Then we get the irresistibly infectious "The Toxic Waltz", perhaps the finest ode to the pit ever recorded, and an Exodus-fied cover of "Low Rider", which, though it lacks the laid-back cool of the original, still manages to satisfy due to its sheer novelty, especially in hearing Steve Souza sing it in that gnarled-up. Bon Scott-ish voice of his.
After that, besides the lukewarm "Open Season", every remaining song on Disaster satisfies, giving us plenty of rowdy gang vocals, energetic songwriting, and headbangable riffs galore, the last of which is aided greatly by that unique, "barbed" sort of guitar sound that has become Exodus's signature, and which finally received the proper strength here, having been too weak on the previous albums. On certain tracks here, the band also shows a surprising amount of creativity, like the gradually de-tuning, all-cymbals beginning of "Corruption", the swampy, ominous intro of "Cajun Hell", complete with croaking frogs, a lazy banjo, and harmonica-playing, and the choice to cover AC/DC's "Overdose" for the final track, a decision that works surprisingly well here; I'm sure that's mostly just due to how much Souza sounds like Scott, but I digress...
All throughout, Disaster maintains a very nice balance between speed and catchiness, as well as a nice balance between dark and light; yeah, you have heavy songs (lyrics-wise) like "Corruption", which is about a society in need of a serious cleansing, but there's also the more playful cuts like the covers, or "Toxic Waltz", where it's simply about how much damn fun it is to mosh. And yeah, while Steve Souza's voice isn't the most pleasant in the world (I really could do without his occasional shrieks), he still works for the album's take-no-s hit sort of attitude. In the end, while Fabulous Disaster is nothing too
amazing, it's still a very enjoyable, very well-executed, and very under-appreciated thrasher, so please, don't pass this by.