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Boy, am I fucking sick of having an album be strongly recommended to me, then I get it and it’s not as good as it was supposed to be. It’s happened to me with Megadeth’s The System Has Failed, with Death’s The Sound Of Perseverance, and it happened with Tempo Of The Damned. Now this year, it happens again with yet another Exodus album. I knew I should’ve bought Hazardous Mutation instead.
I do have to give this some credit though; it’s better than Tempo at least, and Rob Dukes has a much less annoying voice than Zetro. Plus some parts, like Karma’s Messenger and the fast middle section of Deathamphetamine, are enjoyable. The main thing that bothers me about this though is that contrary to what most people say, it’s not the heaviest Thrash album of the new millennium, nor is it the fastest. If anything, it actually sounds kind of like Slipknot. I’m not even exaggerating. Shortly after I bought this album, I had Winamp going in the other room while I was doing something, and I heard a song playing that sounded like it was off this album. I then came back in the room and it was actually Slipknot’s The Heretic Anthem (and yes, I do listen to some Slipknot when I’m in the mood for it). Rob Dukes’ voice is similar to Corey Taylor’s screaming voice on Iowa, and the riffs are similar to some of Slipknot’s heavier riffs.
The production is another thing that bothers me. It’s loud enough, but the guitar tone is extremely bassy, which combined with the groovish riffs is not a good sign. Plus the bass guitar sounds like someone mashing on the deeper keys on an old piano in a predetermined rhythm for the entire duration of the album. The production also saps the power and energy of some of the moments, because it’s kind of overproduced in parts. For example, listen to the beginning of I Am Abomination, just before the double-bass comes in. The drums come in, and are just kind of playing some beat, with not much emotion showing through. It feels pretty forced and generic. Overall the song is okay, but it could’ve been so much more.
The most painful part of this album would have to be the midpaced, groove parts. Songs like Shudder To Think and Going Going Gone bring back memories of some of the midpaced groove parts on Tempo Of The Damned, which sounded extremely plodding and boring. Take Their Lives, this is not. The faster parts on this album though, like the previously mentioned middle section of Deathamphetamine, are great. At the 5:04 mark, everything suddenly gets fast as fuck, and in comes a great solo. Now if the entire album sounded like this, I would be orgasming so much my pants would be giving birth. The fast part damn near gets ruined at the 5:37 – 5:43 section, when the headbanging flow gets interrupted by a short Fear Factory-ish stop-start section that is still somewhat fast, but it ends up just distracting from the riff before (and after). And I do like some Fear Factory as well, but it just does not fit with that fast riff. At all.
The riffage on this album, like other elements, is pretty generic overall. Occasionally the riffage is quality Thrash, but other times it sounds very groovish. The intro riff to Raze is a good example; it’s extremely simple and dull and repetitive. If it weren’t for the fact that the verses and chorus are extremely catchy (plus the riff that plays under the solo), then Raze would be a shit song. The lyrics are catchy enough and seem well-written, which is one good thing about this album. Plus the front cover is just completely badass. But lyrics and cover art alone don’t make an album good.
In the end, this album isn’t completely and utterly horrible. I can listen to it and be somewhat entertained for the majority of the album, hence the rating isn’t extremely low. What does annoy me though is that something this mediocre is being orgasmed over by nearly everyone as being the number 1 post-2000 Thrash album ever. I don’t think it’s that great at all. If Lee Altus had had more of a part in the album than just playing solos, then I’m sure this would’ve been better. So if you’re looking for something that is 100% pure unadulterated Thrash Metal, I suggest you look elsewhere. If on the other hand, you want something that resembles Thrash for the most part, but has noticeable Pantera and Slipknot influences and is overproduced, then get this album. Man, I should stop buying newer Exodus albums and just get Bonded By Blood and get it over with already.
And because I can’t think of anywhere else to say this, Deathamphetamine steals a riff from Destruction’s The Antichrist album. Listen to the :58 mark of Deathamphetamine, then listen to the :09 mark of Dictators Of Cruelty. Exodus speed this up and play a note or two differently, but they still sound extremely similar. I think that’s pretty bad.