Exodus
Bonded by Blood


4.5
superb

Review

by The Satan Ov The Hell USER (10 Reviews)
August 20th, 2012 | 23 replies


Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist


I will first decree my absolutely unfailing judgment to then state my quite possibly faulty and super lame reasons: Bonded By Blood is the greatest thrash album ever. The fact that so many people, many of them avowed “thrashers,” so criminally forsake this band, and particularly this release, is a testament to just how intense of a statement it is. Recorded in 1984, but withheld from release for a full year, Bonded By Blood suffered from being released when the other “classic” thrash bands were already established and on the way, leading to it wrongly being classified as derivative and carelessly overlooked.

Bonded By Blood is an album with nothing to hide, it shows its full colors right from the first, crushing riff. The guitars are sharp and aggressive, the drums pounding, loud and hyperactive and, most importantly, the riffs are downright brilliant. Of the album’s many strong points this is the strongest; every riff is extremely memorable. Not only so, but every transition is also intelligently crafted and instantly memorable, riffs don’t simply follow each other, they appear to logically conclude or compliment each other. The songwriting is a mixture of riff-based construction and, well, real songwriting and it works marvelously. The riffs have the strength of true motifs, and the flow of it all is so seamless that it demonstrates either unbridled, inspire genius or some serious hard work, either of which is greatly admirable. The secret of the riff is that beneath all their aggression lay actual melodies, each one catchy, memorable and smart, and most importantly, brilliantly conductive to the next one.

Now it’s not just that the songs and the riffs are great, they could not be performed by a better group of musicians, nor could they be mixed more appropriately. The performances here are feral, chaotic and wild, particularly the drumming, which somehow manages to sound extremely angry and violent through every second of every song on the album, while still being precise and exciting. The solos are wild yet melodic, and I cannot emphasize enough on the beauty of Tom Hunting’s frantic percussive rampage. The instrumental atmosphere is that of barely controlled chaos, of nihilistic violent madness, yet the compositions and the performances are subtly elegant and wonderfully crafted. The healthy amounts of distortion in the guitars and reverb in the mix only help to enhance the experience, as riff after brilliant riff and fill after incredible fill fly by in concise and hard-hitting succession.

And so we arrive at this album’s most controversial aspect: the vocals. Paul Baloff is not a technically gifted vocalist, nor is he a well-trained one. He is not all that tuneful, nor necessarily is he always singing in key, in fact, more often than not he is shouting more than he is singing. This is exactly why he is the perfect vocalist for this album, and why his vocals and his lyrics elevate it to the status of an absolute classic. Thrash metal prided itself on occasionally tackling subject matter that was a bit more “street,” a bit more “real” than the mythical and satanic preoccupations of their heavy metal predecessors. However, they often did so from a distance, as observers and judges, not participants. Exodus take no such stance; even though Satanic imagery abounds in the album, no other record in thrash is as degenerate, as twisted or as genuinely terrifying as Bonded By Blood. The lyrics deal with violence, misanthropy and hatred in shameless glorification, made all the more impacting by the fact that Baloff doesn’t sound like some high and mighty dragon slayer, nor like an otherworldly demon; he sounds like a seriously unbalanced man that you may actually meet on the street.

All these elements come together to make a mechanically seamless, aesthetically brilliant experience of pure, unfiltered and unadorned violence. Make no mistake folks; this is the ultimate experience in Bay Area transcendental decadence, a monument to the darkest side of human nature carved from the mightiest and most splendorous of riffs, a veritable symphony of evil: in short, the heavy metal Maldoror. Be very afraid.

Turn to look at Baphomet
From below and not above
Welcome to my sacrifice
Tonight there’ll be no love



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user ratings (774)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
killemall666 (3)
The Matrix: Starring Exodus...

Drew Tyler (3.5)
Stellar guitars and drums, terrible vocals... Still a classic release....

manuscriptreplica (4)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
fireandblood
August 19th 2012


198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Admittedly written somewhat quickly but I was simply shocked that no one had yet come forward to shower irrational praise upon this album.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2012


4442 Comments


Exodus is quality thrash, this deserved a higher rated review.

bloc
August 19th 2012


34915 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

BONDED

BY

BLOOD

YoYoMancuso
August 19th 2012


11145 Comments


damn the "best thrash album ever" doesn't even get a classic score?

good review though, pos'd

Friday13th
August 19th 2012


2546 Comments


"...is a testament to just how intense of a statement it is" lol you said Testament :D
Not bad, but...Kill 'Em All. Nough said.

Digging: Donovan - A Gift From A Flower To A Garden

Friday13th
August 20th 2012


2546 Comments


Through the middle you give a useless description of riffs and drumming without mentioning a single song, and talking about their aggression could use some lyrics as an example (I assume those are lyrics in the last paragraph but I don't understand their purpose there). The opening and conclusion are solid so props for that. I agree YoYoMancuso. You must not have a very high view of thrash as I can think of at least four thrash albums that deserve a classic rating.

Spec
August 20th 2012


27188 Comments


BLOOOOD

YoYoMancuso
August 20th 2012


11145 Comments


@Friday If you don't think Rust In Peace or South of Heaven are 5's then you're not a thrash fan

Friday13th
August 20th 2012


2546 Comments


Guilty of the latter. All my years of listening to thrash have been in vain becuase I don't love South of Heaven and am thereby a poseur.

truekebabpower
August 20th 2012


639 Comments


Saw these guys two months back, they don't want to get old it seems

NoMeansYes
August 20th 2012


1012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. Damn good album, but the re-recording is unnecessary

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
August 20th 2012


20987 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules. Fabulous Disaster is better though imo.

KILL
August 20th 2012


71957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol yoyo south of heavens barely a 4 bitch

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

NoMeansYes
August 20th 2012


1012 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fabulous Disaster is better though imo.


Still need to hear that

fireandblood
August 20th 2012


198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well I'm not the biggest thrash fan, but I do find it hilarious that South of Heaven and Rust in Peace are the albums you associate with "classic thrash."

As far as the rating, the number system is a horribly flawed way of evaluating art, if you read my review you can see my opinion of the album is extremely high, whatever the number. I just think that if we're going to do this whole number thing then only the very best should be at the very top.


TheNotrap
August 20th 2012


8108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Your first paragraph is quite accurate man.
This release is indeed a Bay Area classic, filled with timeless thrash riffs.
Essential addition to any decent metal collection.

Have a thrash pos.

Digging: Threshold - For The Journey

ThrashTillDeath94
August 20th 2012


595 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My god, what a find job you did here. Pos'd

Nagrarok
August 20th 2012


8259 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album rules. Fabulous Disaster is better though imo.


Agreed, would be more of a contest if this had better vocals and production, though the 'shortcomings' do also fit.

ZedO
August 20th 2012


1096 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

no doubt, this album is one among Exodus finest releases...

fireandblood
August 20th 2012


198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've been negged it seems. Care to help me improve, mysterious detractor?



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