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An embarrasment to Metal - 0%

Visionary, November 29th, 2009

Bonded by Blood was a milestone in thrash and widely considered as one of the best thrash albums ever recorded. These sorts of albums that really have no room for improvement are best left alone. Exodus however, decided to re-record it anyway claiming it as a tribute to Paul Baloff. Exodus’ sound has changed dramatically over the years and Exodus was faced with the challenge of bringing a slightly different flavor to the original but without tainting the original. Unfortunately Exodus has changed so much in sound that this shares almost nothing that made the original so enjoyable and there is nothing new they added to it that is enjoyable.

First of all the production is modern. With how Exodus have been producing their albums over recent years this not surprising, nor is it necessarily a bad thing to have a heavier more modern production. Unfortunately this does not suit the songwriting for Bonded by Blood. The songs are written for a slight NWOBHM flavor like many other thrash albums that were being released in 1983 and 1984, so the heavier, crunchier production does not suit the songwriting. It needs higher tuned guitars playing very fast and catchy rhythms. Let there be Blood is completely devoid of the fast galloping rhythms that helped make the original so great due to the modern, crunchy production.

The intensity of fast rhythms and wild solos has dropped down a dramatic amount with this re-recording and it just sounds like a band now that is uninspired and just trying too hard to sound a certain way instead of just playing and having fun. One of the most enjoyable things about the original is that Exodus was having fun, and the music sounds real and inspired. There is this sense of uncontrolled wildness that you just want to go crazy when listening to it. All that is lost in Let there be Blood. It just sounds too controlled and lifeless. Piranha, for example was a song with a really fast tempo on the original and made me want to just go crazy; basically thrash. Now the re-recording just goes in one ear and out the other as the tempo is slower and has absolutely zero intensity. My head is not even nodding along to this one.

The other huge problem is Rob Dukes. Sure he is a problem on just about everything he has done with Exodus but his dry, monotonous, tough-guy shouts is just so unfitting for Bonded by Blood. Paul Baloff was wild, untamed with a very over the top style that was just so fitting. It added to the craziness and catchiness perfectly. Dukes’ part modern hardcore style vocals is just so unsuited for fast, and catchy thrash riffing and with him behind the mic Exodus should continue with their groove sound instead of trying to be thrash again. Another Lesson in Violence is a perfect example of where Dukes fails. The chorus of that song is just so memorable with Baloff’s voice changing pitch and just feeling what he is singing. Dukes sounds like he is almost reading it off a script, as he doesn’t change tone once and continues with those teen-angst shouts.

This was meant to be a tribute to Paul Baloff but is really no more than a shameless cash grab and should never have been recorded. Forget this and listen to the original. Exodus should be embarrassed and ashamed for shitting on what is one of the greatest albums ever recorded.