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Paul Baloff is more metal than you. - 98%

PriestofSadWings, June 24th, 2007

This is a public service message to those of you kvlt kiddies who think you’re evil because you know who Ildjarn is: Paul Baloff is more metal than you. And if you don’t acknowledge this proven fact, you run the risk of having your wife being raped and murdered, your town plundered, your home burned to the ground, and your bare flesh cut to the bone with a rusty knife. He will teach you a lesson in violence you won’t soon forget, and the pleasure of watching you die is what he will get. He loves to stab his victims until they’re dead – a knife to the throat or a smashing blow to the head. If you don’t surrender, you’ll breathe your final breath. You won’t hear a sound ‘til the knife is in your back. Thank you.

It doesn’t really matter that he’s dead – he’s metal’s version of Chuck Norris, a guy who would bleed metal if that was at all possible. His vocals played a very large role in shaping this thrash classic into what it is. Can you spell “badass”? It’s spelled B-A-L-O-F-F.

The other instruments all seem mashed into one giant speeding ball of thrash – not that that’s a bad thing, but Baloff’s vocals stand out, just for their sheer hysteria. Awesome/ridiculous vocals notwithstanding, what Exodus have created here is one of the best thrash debut albums in the business.

Musically, it’s very similar Metallica’s first (Metal Command = Motorbreath, A Lesson in Violence = Phantom Lord, etc.), but Bonded by Blood is a little more vicious, a little meaner, and has a rare sense of what exactly causes people’s heads to bang. It sounds like Kill ‘Em All’s big, mean, red-headed half-sister went out and drank a few shots.

Another similarity between the two is the production. Kill ‘Em All’s energy-pumped twin guitars are replicated here, along with the same smashing drums. It has a very raw, live feel, almost as if these guys were pounding it out in a very nice garage.

The last similarity between these two seminal albums is the solos. Maybe we should have expected that, because Kirk taught Gary Holt how to play, but it still sounds like Kirk is playing these solos – and I’m sure he wrote some of them. Most of the solos on here ape his fast and frantic hammer-on style, and do so competently enough, I guess. But the main attraction here, as with Metallica, is the riffs, not the solos.

The rhythm section is competent, not bad, but Araya and Lombardo aren’t exactly quivering in their boots either. Rob McKillop’s bass gets buried, and while it still provides the rhythmic backbone that it’s supposed to be, it’s not a feature. And Hunting isn’t exactly a genius, simply a solid drummer.

The thing about this album is that, at its metal heart, it’s just a bunch of San Francisco teens having a good time. And those good times they had 22 years ago, still translate to the listener.