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STRIKE OF THE BEAST - 91%

TrooperEd, September 17th, 2017

Released 6 months before Spreading The Disease, 5 months before Hell Awaits and 2 months before Killing Is My Business, Exodus put out a ransom note to the metal world, “Get in our way, and we’re going to TAKE YOUR LIFE!” Yea folks, there’s a reason metal remembers the coming out of thrash and not the efforts of Bon Jovi, Dokken and Twisted Sister in 1985. These poser assassinations kept the masses in fucking line. Unfortunately that more or less changed in the years afterwords as like most second tier bands, they just couldn’t come up with two masterpieces in a row.

It is solely because of Paul Balloff that I came to respect so-called "harsh" vocals in metal. Balloff’s vocals aren’t guttural, screechy, or even barky (certainly not in the modern Hatebreed style of today), but they are destruction manifested in a single agent. But despite Balloff being a larger than life giant in metal, both musically and otherwise, no one is bigger than the group. Part of what most modern metal bands fail to understand (both proper singer and otherwise) is that the vocals are not the center stage of the band. It should be a friendly competitive tension between vocals and distinctive heavy riffs. It doesn’t matter if your vocalist is a guttural extremer roaring his pain or a master soprano displaying skill hitting a difficult note, if you’re just strumming on a ho-hum chord in the background, your band sucks. And that’s where metal’s most underrated guitar duo, the H-team comes in. Yes folks, Hunolt and Holt, not Hammett and Hetfield, are the H-team. Anyone who says otherwise is to be stabbed in front of their loved ones.

This album is beginning to end thrash. Like a slightly more angry, more violent Kill Em All. I'd imagine this was how most of the supposed "purists" Lars Ulrich always whines about (Anybody else starting to think he's making that up and the actual reaction to Fade To Black was more indifference) wanted Ride The Lightning to be. Well, maybe except with Fight Fire With Fire tacked on. What's strange is, as fast and thrashy and violent as this album is, nothing on this album quite reaches that speed. When I hear "if only this album had come out in 84 like it was supposed to Ride The Lightning wouldn't have gotten all the credit," I don't quite believe it because that song in particular is what makes speed-thrash speed-thrash.

The only moment on Bonded By Blood that's out of place is the little acoustic intro ( not even this album could escape it) at the beginning of No Love. Granted if you listen to MP3's like I do it's nothing iTunes can't edit out but seriously, why was that even there? It's one thing if you can make those little moments organic and grow into a natural song like Merciless Death, Good Mourning/Black Friday and even Fade To Black. But its like why even have stuff like that just for nothing? They can't even use the "start the vinyl side off smoothly" argument considering side B of this album starts out with the pounding drums of Piranha.

Regardless, if it's a flaw, it's a minuscule "gun to your head- pick out a problem" complaint than anything serious. A one point penalty at the most. Bonded By Blood is the most essential post big four thrash album to own. I would actually place this much higher than a hefty amount of that prestigious group's catalog. Crank up the stereo and batten down the hatches. On second thought, fuck the hatches. Hatches are for wimps and posers.

Recommended Songs:
Strike of The Beast
Piranha
Deliver Us To Evil