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A Grand Ol' Thrash Crunch-Fest - 83%

spacecorpse1, April 26th, 2008

Hell Yeah, this is pure thrash metal from 1990, that's for sure. Is it dated? It sure is, but does it still kick ass? Absolutely.

Whereas the Fabulous Disaster album was a bit on the experimental and quirky side, this album is a more refined, more finely tuned thrasher with some real nice qualities about it. Firstly i'd like to talk about how it sounds. The guitar sounds hellaciously crispy and crunchy yet at the same time ultra clean. This particular sound works very well for thrash riffs that are precise and very power-chord chugg oriented; after all not everything needs to sound like a raw chainsaw in order to grab you by the balls. I find this ultra clean type guitar sound to be terrifically in your face and works for Exodus riffs better than any other sound.

Another asset that makes this a great thrasher is the attitude and delivery of none other than Steve "Zetro" Souza. Now, much has been documented about how Steve's nasally and mid-ranged style vocals are of the love em' or hate em' variety and that Paul Baloff was the man etc. etc. But one of the main ingredients that made former Exodus frontman Paul Baloff (R.I.P.) the quintessential thrash frontman, was his large as death attitude. Attitude is something that Zetro displays a lot of on this album.

As a long time listener of Exodus, I occasionally revisit all the eras of the band and I have to say that on 1987's Pleasures Of The Flesh album, it seems like new vocalist Zetro had too huge of shoes to fill in by replacing the much adored, ultra violent Paul Baloff and it was obvious that Zetro Souza was not Paul Baloff and it took him another album after that point and 3 years later to really develop himself and let his attitude become more apparent; and on this album he snarls, laughs hideously, mocks, judges, growls, and berrates the sheepish with his pandering of all things thrash attitude with a capital A and T respectively. While he's not even nearly as pissed off and brutal as Paul was on 1985's Bonded By Blood debut, he really seems to have come into his own on this album.

The songs themselves are a bit on the long side at times and the album is nearly at the hour mark, but what's great is that the songs don't feel very repetative and boring. This must be mainly in part to the much applauded guitar team of Gary Holt and Rick Hunholt AKA the H-Team. While there are no experimental salsa or acoustic passages to be found here, you will occasionally hear a maiden-esque dual guitar harmony part as on a track like Chainging Of The Guard, and many stop and go riffs and just some more thrashly things that only a guitar duo can get away. The solos make nice use of the whammy bar and oscillating freqencies to fry up your brain while it's banging. The debut of drummer Joey Tempesta, who replaced long time Exodus skin basher Tom Hunting, shows that his skills are more than adequate here and he even finds his own place in the mix which is mostly dominated by rhythm guitars.

Overall I feel this album is just plain good thrash metal and can and certainly should be appreciated by fans of Exodus and thrash metal in general. It's not going to surprise you with anything groundbreaking but it's a certifiable riff-fest with great crunchy guitars and lots and lots of attitude and that's what thrash is all about, at least to me. It's kind of strange to look back now and compare Exodus circa 1990 to the Exodus of 2008 and find that Gary Holt is the only member who remains out of the 5 piece band that performed on this album. Even though they were having lineup changes back then that have continued until the present day, this album is unmistakingly 100% Exodus attack.