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Probably they didn't know the term "variation" - 73%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, December 17th, 2008

Force of Habit should be analysed in the 90s conception of thrash metal. This album shows heavier groove signs that already came out on the previous Impact Is Imminent. The period was becoming quite tragic for this genre and lots of bands already went downhill in inspiration, violence and speed. Many filled their sound with progressive influences and other ones with the groove virus. Exodus belongs to this last category and this album is the definitive proof of a new style of playing thrash metal. By the way, the Exodus groove is not that excessive or annoying like in several other bands and the dynamism is always quite present even if the riffs and the speed of the previous albums cannot be beaten.

Probably the main problem about this album is the “one way” it is played in most of the parts. The riffs often settle down on the same grooving style and the drumming is on perennial mid-paced beats for the biggest part of the excessively long length here. “Thorn on My Side” is already quite long and the tempo changes are not that used. By the way, the riffage is quite dynamic and surely better than the following “Me, Myself and I” that shows a goodish chorus and a better central break with different riffs and different structures. Steve Souza is very good at vocals and he tries to be always nasty, powerful and childish. Well, he achieved the goal and I like his style a lot. The production, as you can imagine, is very good and typical of the beginning of the 90s, in order to give power to the crunchy guitar tone.

The quite hard and massive guitars work on the riffs is undeniable, but the problem is that often the riffs are always the same and after awhile the risk is to fall into boredom. The title track is more of the same but the middle section is remarkable for the good lead lines and the guitars solos to add atmosphere. “Bitch” is a Rolling Stone cover and its presence could be easily thrown away. The structures are, as you can imagine, totally different and the trumpets sound in some parts is just irritating. The catchiness is the main word and that’s normal but I really don’t like this track. “Fuel for the Fire” is even longer than the previous songs but shows also the very first fast parts! The bass drums are far faster and the snare is on up tempo. The riffs go back to 1989 and this is perfect to break a bit the monotonous groove tempo. However, don’t expect another “Piranha” because there’s always the mixing of fast to far less impulsive moments.

“One Foot in the Grave” is utterly slow and groove. The only different section is the one of the guitars solos: the atmosphere is different and the riffs change to sustain a different sound. “Count Your Blessing” is definitely faster and that is perfect. The galloping riffs are once more there to create insanity in my headbanging and bring the listener to life. As always, don’t expect continuing fast parts but surely the structures are more dynamic and aggressive. Here Exodus really demonstrates they can still play hard. “Climb Before the Fall” has the typical stop and go riffs by the guitars and the return to mid-paced, grooving tempo. Actually, as I said before, this kind of groove is quite tolerable for me because it has still the thrash metal distortion along with few other elements.

“Architect of Pain” is a truly long song with its 11 minutes. The tempo is once again mid-paced with good lead lines parts by the guitars. Well, there’s no variation and this is too heavy to digest. “When It Rains It Pours” has a more compact and direct progression but nothing spectacular and at this point I’m turning a bit tired due to the excessive length and the always identical style of tempo and riffs. “Good Day to Die” has a country beginning with more mid-paced riffs and slow beats. The chorus is well-recognizable but…oh my…I’m too tired. “Pump It Up” is another useless cover to increase the length and nothing more. Yes, some restarts are faster but stop it…

“Feeding Time at the Zoo” is the last chapter of this long, long album. After the funny intro, the tempo is finally fast and this shows the Exodus greatness when it comes on the speed. The riffs are fast, dynamic and the band seems far more charged to destroy everything. This last track woke me up immediately thanks to the sheer violence. Thanks! At least there’s something really thrash here! By the way, without joking, this album is not bad at all but it’s too long to feature continuing mid-paced parts and groove riffs. The production is very good but sometimes it’s not enough and I would have preferred a more various album (to notice that I haven’t said “fast”). That could have been enough for me, for example like the huge The Years of Decay album by Overkill that is a perfect example of technical, not that fast, thrash metal.