Review Summary: Exodus shows signs of musical maturity for their sophomoric effort.
By 1987, Exodus was due for a follow-up to their debut album, "Bonded by Blood". So they entered the studio and recorded what would come to be known as "Pleasures of the Flesh. The album was highly anticipated by fans of the band and critics alike. For this album we would be seeing a small change in the line-up. Vocalist Paul Baloff had left the band and was replaced by Steve Souza formerly of Testament.
I will start this off by saying that i believe that Steve Souza was a small step up from Paul Baloff. Steve Souza's vocals almost remind me of Bobby Blitz of Overkill, because of his raspy voice. Souza also has better control of his voice and doesn't end up sounding sloppy like Baloff did. That's not to say that Souza is perfect by any means. Occasionally on the album he ends up making some real loud screams that just pale in comparison to Baloff. But overall i would have to say that Souza didn't annoy me like Baloff did and Souza ends up sounding like a better fit for the band.
Musically, this is where the bands starts to really sound like a well-knit unit. They still retain the heaviness and energy of their previous album, and there seems to have been a bit of musical maturity from the band since their debut. Tom Hunting the drummer shows more skill than previously. Before it was very simple and fast drumming. Now he tends to utilize more drum fills in order to spice up some of the tracks, which is something that really wasn't emphasized on the debut. The guitars also show more variation, with less focus on simplistic riffs and more focus on lengthy guitar solos and more complex riffs. Gary Holt and Ruck Hunolt practically duel each other with their guitar solos. One would dare to say that the band shows a somewhat progressive side to their work. The band certainly made an effort to hone their musical skills for their sophomoric release. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, little focus is put into the bass, but this par for the course. With the other members simply ripping it up, one can easily forget about the low bass frequency.
The Album begins with the insane rantings of a madman, and then we are thrust into the first song, "Deranged". From that moment on the listener is pummeled with riff after riff, solo after solo, and really fast drums. This sets the tone for the rest of the album and i wouldn't have it anyway. Straight up thrash is what Exodus has always specialized in, and that's we get.
This album tends to be the most overlooked and underrated album from the band's classic catalog. The band managed to keep the energetic feel of the first album, and add a slight technical side to their music. While it may not be a fan favorite like "Bonded by Blood", this album laid the groundwork for one of Exodus's most well received albums, "Fabulous Disaster". "Pleasures of the Flesh" is a tried and true example of thrash metal, and arguably one of the best thrash releases of the late 80's.
-Heavy and full of energy
-Musical growth from the band
-Hit or miss vocals
-Not for bass enthusiasts
Steve "Zetro" Souza - Vocals
Gary Holt - Guitars
Rick Hunolt - Guitars
Rob McKillop - Bass
Tom Hunting - Drums
Producers - Exodus, Marc Senesac, Mark Whitaker
Combat Records, Century Media Records, CBS Sony