Review Summary: Exodus's defining album with Steve Souza and one of their best works to date.
Formed in the bay-area of San Francisco in 1980, Exodus has been around since the very beginning of thrash metal, and is one the most highly regarded thrash bands to never really reach critical and commercial acclaim, because Exodus never captured the same amount notoriety and success as The Big Four did. The band is overlooked by many to due inconsistency, line-up changes, and an overall lack of support from the metal community during the mid 90's. However the band is credited with creating some classic thrash metal material such as 1985's "Bonded by Blood", and Exodus did find some moderate success during the late 80's and early 90's. Released in 1989 at the peak of thrash metal, this release saw the band in it's prime and is arguably better then any material released by the band since.
This album has nearly everything we look for in a thrash metal release, with skilled musicianship, an overall aggressive sound, and confrontational lyrics throughout. Exodus made it a point to let the listeners know that this is a band full of energy and they take no prisoners. Each track (including the cover "Low Rider") adheres to the overall sound and feel of the album and the tracks transition well together forming a well thought out and cohesive effort by the band. Each track sounds different from the last, and I would dare to say that there are no weak songs here. The production is also top notch, allowing nearly each instrument to be heard and the sound is perfect for this form of music. Of course the band sticks to the thrash metal formula, with loud riff driven material and hammering drums dominating this album, and the band doesn't really branch out from this sound much, so the music isn't particularly varied. If you don't like thrash then this album will not do much for you. It's far from progressive, and does not bring anything new to the table. However, good friendly violent thrash is what one can expect from this album, and the band delivers in spades.
Exodus also had a couple of the most skilled guitarists in thrash, with Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt crafting some very clever riffs and fierce solos. The two guitarists crank out some truly memorable material together and make a lasting impression on many metal-heads with an ear for technical guitar work. Of course one can't forget about drum legend Tom Hunting. Tom delivers as always with finesse and skill, and remains the one man who can give fellow thrash drummer Dave Lombardo a run for his money. The vocals are also notable for the fact that this is one the few albums with vocalist Steve Souza that I can bare. The man certainly has the attitude that Exodus is famous for, and delivers with bravado, however the vocals aren't for everyone, and remain unique yet hit or miss for many metal fans. Though the bass remains more or less forgettable and unmentionable, the rest of the band stands tall, giving some of their best performances of their careers.
This is Exodus at the top of their game, and this album remains one of their defining efforts. It contains many fan favorites and is sure to please fans of thrash metal. However this album offers little in innovation, and the vocals are uniquely hit or miss, those who do not like thrash should look elsewhere. Regardless of you affinity of thrash, this album is truly excellent and will always be regarded as a classic of the genre.
- Fabulous Disaster
- The Toxic Waltz
- Like Father, Like Son
- Verbal Razors
Steve "Zetro" Souza - vocals
Gary Holt - guitars, backing vocals
Rick Hunolt - guitars, backing vocals
Rob McKillop - bass, backing vocals
Tom Hunting - drums, percussion
Produced by: Marc Senesac, Gary Holt, Rick Hunolt
Mixed by: Marc Senesac, Gary Holt, Rick Hunolt, Chad Munsey
Engineered by: Marc Senesac, David Plank
Mastered by: Bernie Grundman
Released: November 30, 1988 (Europe) January 13, 1989 (US)
Label: Relativity Records, Music For Nations, CBS Sony (Japan)