(Thrash/Speed Metal) Exodus - Bonded by Blood
Exodus was one of the early thrash bands that arose from the Bay Area scene. Forming in 1982, they recorded this album in 1984, but due to difficulties, the CD wasn't released until late 1985, where thrash was peaking. One could only imagine how big this band could have been if they released the album when it was recorded. Exodus are a rare 5-piece thrash band, with Baloff not playing any instruments.
Kirk Hammett, lead guitarist of the mighty Metallica, was originally part of Exodus, but left the band (without recording with them) when he was recruited to Metallica to replace Dave Mustaine. Later in Exodus's career, Testament's vocalist (then known as Legacy) Steve Sousa would replace Paul Baloff.
Bonded by Blood is their first album, and possibly their best. It contains well known thrash anthems "A Lesson in Violence", a 7 minute epic "Deliver us to Evil", and the ever-so-cool "Bonded by Blood" which contains the insanely cool lyrics "There's blood up on the stage/Bang your head against the stage!" and overall is a thrash classic.
Paul Baloff - Vocals
Gary Holt - Guitars
Rick Hunolt - Guitars
Rob McKillop - Bass
Tom Hunting - Drums
Bonded by Blood (3:46)
After a short intro, the title track is straight into the action with a machine-gun paced riff and banging drums. This song is rather catchy, the intro is no exception to that. Previously mentioned, the chorus is cool, and contains the great lyrics "There's blood up on the stage/Bang your head against the stage!" Whilst not technically excellent, this is a great song to start off with: catchy, fast, some great solos and it is great to bang your head to. (Against the stage, that is!) Unfortunately, the vocals don't do much for me, and I don't enjoy this song as much as I should.
Again, like its former, the song is straight into it, no mucking around. Another high paced riff is met with frenetic drumming. Unfortunately (again...) the song's form is exactly the same as Bonded by Blood (verse, chorus, verse, chorus, 2 solos, verse) and as a result can get tedious. But it's thrash! It's meant to sound the same. A pretty good song, with decent solos, and a great riff, but not at all memorable.
And then There Were None (4:43)
A simple, slower riff accompanies some drum fills at the start of this song. I love songs like these, slower but with a killer riff. It's similar to Postmortem by Slayer. The sing-a-long verses are a bit shocking. And the vocals aren't too good either. Thankfully, the excellent riff and killer solos (especially the first one, it's one of the best on the album) and the faster bit are all great and make this a highlight of the album.
A Lesson in Violence (3:52)
Exodus's most well-known song, and it is a terrific one. I even like the screamy vocals in this song! The triplet feel in the riff is both extremely fast sublime and is matched with fabulous drumming. The solos are up to great standards again, the first one is better, but they are both excellent. A fairly short song, but an excellent on at that.
Metal Command (4:16)
This is one of the best speed metal songs you are ever going to hear. Ever. It starts off with a killer riff with great drum work, matched with an equally excellent verse riff. Again, I don't really like the vocals, but they sort of suit the style of music. The verse is matched with the catchiest chorus on the album, it is exceptional. The solos are well thought out, perfectly in synch with the tone of the song, and also are great shred-fests.
Ignore the horribly shocking opening 4 seconds of noise, and you have quite a decent song. The drums really **** me off in this song, they sound like Lar's snares from St. Anger. The song in itself is pretty boring, and the vocals are horrible, but the solos are of a high standard, and are probably the best on the album. And from the solos onwards is pretty cool, especially the galloping riff. Pure speed metal!! Great song.
No Love (5:11)
This is a poor song. The acoustic intro is nice, but not necessary. The vocals are, once again, poor. It is slow thrash. The only thing that saves this song is, again, the excellent level of soloing that goes on, and the fast paced music that accompanies it.
Deliver us to Evil (7:10)
The epic of the album. Clocking up a big 7:10 (rare in this genre) this is quite amazing, and unlike other thrash artists (Metallica) who compose long songs, there is no wussy bits in it. It is fast all the way through this song, with several different, great riffs, and some unbelievable soloing (check out the one at 4:22) overall, a splendid song, and better than some long thrash songs I could list (Master of Puppets) (Disposable Heroes) (...And Justice for All).
Strike of the Beast (4:00)
The last song is a very cool way to end it. Starting with a tricky riff, it explodes into a frenzy of pounding drums and screaming vocals. I like the vocals in this song, they fit very well. The riff at 1:45 is both fast and technical, and extremely awesome. This IS the fastest song on the album, and is a great way to end a great album. The solos, again, are of an excellent standard.
Great album to headbang along to.
4/5. A great first effort by Exodus, and an undisputable classic, but the production and shoddy vocals let it down in some places. Still, have a listen, you will enjoy most of it.