Review Summary: A perfect addition to any Thrash Metal fan's collection, "Rising from the Sea" succeeds in it's excellent extremity and unapologetic aggression.
Of all the German Thrash Metal bands formed in the 80's, Exumer are perhaps one of the most underrated. It's hardly surprising though, and for two very possible reasons. One of which is the fact that they have only ever released two single-track demos and three full-length studio albums, one of which was produced after a 22-year hiatus that cost the band any close following they had created in the 80's. The only other reason could be that their sound was and has always been constantly likened to the early stages of both Slayer's and Kreator's simplistic yet satisfying sound, and one that resonates with every fan of no-frills Thrash Metal.
Exumer's second album, “Rising from the Sea”, for all it's strong comparisons, is a monstrous album for Teutonic Thrash Metal. The furious nature of Paul Arakaki's vocals grinding alongside the scything guitar work and the electrifying relationship between both the bass and drums is all that was used to create each of “Rising...”'s nine aggressive tracks. At times the lyrical content is strongly complemented by Arakaki's venomous voice, and although it isn't really anything special, it supports the extremity of each particular instrument and it's relative job on the album.
The best and perhaps most obvious highlight on this album is Ray Mensh's superb guitar work. On each and every song, the riffs are expansive and diverse, yet never seem to bore the listener by repeating itself with an unchanging tempo, and instead dominating the album's general sound with it's fully precise and refined sound. On the manic title track, which could almost be called one of Exumer's most progressive songs, and the equally as musically challenging 'Unearthed', the guitar work goes through many changes of tone, tempo and technique, at times sweeping through with its clockwork precision, and at others providing a good dose of hellish sounds or even a bit of melody, as the usage of an acoustic guitar ends the latter song in superb fashion. The riffs aren't only the good thing here, as the solos are equally as menacing, and even seem to pop up when you least expect it. In particular the meandering nature of closer epic closer 'Ascension day' and 'The first Supper' are powered by solos that weave in and out of stable guitar rhythms, stellar introductions to each respective song and even to finish some off. Naturally, it's something that often occurs in the early traditions of Thrash Metal, but it's also something that Mensh's fully excels at.
It isn't all about the guitar however, as both the rumbling bass work and thundering drums support each song and prevent them from becoming stale with repetition or half-baked songwriting. For example, the short but chaotic 'Decimation' brings to mind early Kreator, yet also adds a hint of raw energy and “old school” nostalgia that really differentiates itself from any other song on “Rising from the Sea”. Even the vocals, which at times are sung perhaps a little too fast, tend to show off by sounding evil and almost as if Arakaki is trying to give himself a very sore throat. On the ecstatic opener 'Winds of Death', his voice roars through with power and acceleration that rubs off on the other instruments, whereas 'The first Supper' features Arakaki trying to appear as the dark Lord Satan himself, ending the fantastic song with some of the deepest and most menacing sounding vocal tones ever heard on a Teutonic Thrash Metal album. Cheesy, yes, but it helps the album a great deal.
So far it sounds as if this album is indeed a perfect staple of 80's European Thrash Metal, but it is assured that it is not quite flawless. The very immaturely written and lazily performed 'Are you deaf?', which can't be taken seriously by simply reading its title, automatically presents itself as filler material to the listener when a childish Arakaki screams the title over and over again until you can't decide whether it's a prepubescent child you're listening to a very drunken adult. Even the solo that arrives a little too late can't take away from the fact that this song really is an unnecessary addition to the album, and as a result, it ends up unfortunately yet thankfully near the end of the album. The only other thing, which was hinted at earlier in the review, is the moment when Arakaki becomes Tom Araya in his teens and tries to sing so fast that the lyrics don't read properly, but instead become something of a blur. This can also be tied in with the aforementioned song 'Are you Deaf?', and unsurprisingly it proves to be a poorly performed track in an otherwise excellent album.
That said, “Rising from the Sea” features a very admirable collection of traditional yet diverse Thrash Metal tunes, that is full of unapologetic aggression and excellent extremity. It is obviously a necessity for those that love any form of Thrash, but if anyone is interested in the history of German extreme Metal, this would be a great deal of education to you.