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I won’t play no games wit you pussy niggaz - 60%

flexodus, February 16th, 2011

A poem:

I won’t play no games wit you pussy niggaz,
I fuck round pull dat thang on you pussy niggaz,
I’m too clean to try ta swang wit you pussy niggaz,
I b-bang b-bang bang on you pussy niggaz.

A review:

So Exodus, like so many thrash bands today, realized that their glory days are long gone, lost amidst the cutoff sleeve bootleg shirts and whitewashed high top sneakers of ages ago. So as a break from their good-but-not-always-great modern material, they give us this little album: a rerecording of Bonded by Blood. Good news? Bad news? A cash in? A disgrace to the band’s legacy? What to make of it? Certainly, many ventures into reliving older material have failed miserably (take Testament’s shameful First Strike Still Deadly compilation, that Anthrax album that probably gave its listeners Down syndrome), but let’s take into consideration the factors at play here.

1). According to my research, this is an Exodus album. It features original members guitarist Gary Holt and drummer Tom Hunting, as well as somewhat long-time bassist Jack Gibson. The two newest members are Heathen’s own Lee Altus, and controversial new vocalist/scary bearded man Rob Dukes. These musicians perform under the name Exodus and play many songs made famous by Exodus, so I must conclude that Let There be Blood is an Exodus album.

2). For all intents and purposes, this album is Bonded by Blood, the greatest early thrash metal album of all time. The song titles are all the same as that hallowed album and the album art is some sort of modern reimagining of whatever the fuck was going on the original cover. So, through use of my calculus and biotechnology skills, I have determined this album is basically Bonded by Blood, but for a third time.

Now who the FUCK has a problem with this? Pussy niggaz, that’s who. Let’s delve further.

This album rules, plain and simple. Looking at how the majority of the metal scene has wholeheartedly deemed it unworthy of licking Paul Baloff’s dead scrotum skin, I can’t help be baffled. I went into this album expecting some complete travesty, some sort of Hatebreed-styled chugathon (that’s what newer Exodus sounds like, right? Right?) replete with bro-tastic breakdowns in place of midpaced riffs and throwaway speedy Holt-isms completely besmirching the good name of the album. After all, they already rerecorded the entire album on Another Lesson in Violence, did anybody really need it again? Well, when you get right down to it, yes. Yes, we did.

Let There be Blood is hardly a deviation from the original 1985 album, nor the 1997 live album. All the riffs are still there, just as sharp and jagged as they once were. All the solos are still there, all meedly-meedly-moo like. The drumming is precise and pounding, the bass is low and grinding. Compared to the other versions, I’d liberally estimate that this album is perhaps 5% or 10% slower. Sound bad? NO is the only accepted answer, because Exodus has always been just as good (perhaps even better) at midpaced, groovy riffs than at faster ones. Remember “And Then There Were None” and “Deliver Us to Evil”? Or ANY album they did after 1985? They were all groovy as gravy, so this rerecording sounds quite par for the course for the band. The new versions of “A Lesson in Violence” and “Pirhana” are perhaps the most middling tracks here, solely due to the speedy ferocity of the originals compared to the slightly tamed interpretations here. Tom’s drumming on these tracks appear to be the main problem: they don’t quite beat you over the head with his impeccable *bassSNAREbassSNAREbassSNAREbassSNARE* thrash beats we’re all familiar with and expect from these tracks. Instead, they’re a bit more lax and less rushed, allowing more room for the tracks to breathe, even though these are tracks that should NOT have room to breathe; they should be rushed and fast and fearsome and incredibly fucking urgent. This is a FAST EXODUS SONG, so I should be FAST EXODUS STABBING and FAST EXODUS RAPING all throughout the whole thing. No time to waste, Tom!

So if the faster songs aren’t quite this album’s strong suits, what are? Pretty much all other aspects of it, really. The one-two-three punch of “Bonded by Blood,” “Exodus” and “And Then There Were None” is brilliant. The songs don’t sound tired or overplayed at all: they’re still vicious, rabid and fucking thrash. The title track hasn’t lost a step since 1985. That iconic riff, played in the perfect tempo to complement Tom’s drumming (fast, but not FAST EXODUS FAST) and then bang bang bang BLOOD UPON THE STAGE. I’ll make note of the guitar solos: they’re spot on! Gary Holt does his thang, but newcomer Lee Altus fares brilliantly as well. I’m not sure exactly how large of a presence previous guitarist Rick Hunolt had on the songwriting process or general personality of Exodus, but Altus is more than welcome to replace the man. Well-versed in Bay Area-isms, Altus doesn’t miss a beat. BLOODY CORPSE MAKES ME FEEL GREAT. Yeah. The ancient “Hell’s Breath” has a decrepit NWOBHM feel in the soloing and riffcraft, which certainly benefits from Lee Altus’s Breaking the Silence sound.

I’ll tackle the two greatest complaints leveled against this release: the production, and the singer. I can see how the crunchy, fat, modern guitar tone might put off some veteran thrashers, but the sound works brilliantly over all. I mentioned the general groovy-graviness of Exodus earlier, and this retardedly heavy production benefits the album greatly. It’s reminiscent of a cleaned-up, studio version of the production on Another Lesson in Violence, really. Any cursory listen of that album will clearly demonstrate what can only be the late Paul Baloff’s utmost approval of the production on this album. “Why do you want to be so heavy?” the pussy niggaz ask. “Hehe, why so heavy...” Paul chuckles, brushing off that question because it’s a stupid one. The heavy production does not strip a single riff of its original bite, does not lessen a solo to anything beneath greatness. Songs like “Metal Command” and “Strike of the Beast” still make me want to rage uncontrollably like a maniac, so I’m rather confused when fans claim this release lacks the energy and vitality so important to Exodus. I assure you, this album is replete with the thrashing vigor you so rightfully expect of this band. Trust me, I’m TheExodusAttack.

And for Rob Dukes? Well according to Youtube, he’s a crazy fat homeless man that Exodus hired as a singer in what must have been a bout of drunken bad decisions. And god damnit, if that doesn’t sound like the most EXODUS thing the band could have done, I don’t know what is. Rob Dukes has a particularly vicious and screechy sound that is perfectly befitting of these songs. Honestly, his vocal performance is pretty damn similar to Baloff’s: enraged in a wild, foolish way, gleefully spewing violent anti-poser rhetoric at the listeners. The phrase “hardcore tuff guy” is thrown around a lot when describing him, and although not inaccurate in terms of the way he looks (bald head, tattoo sleeves and that BEARD), he certainly doesn’t sound the part. He sounds like a screechy, raspy thrash metal singer. His method of singing is far more appropriate for Baloff-era songs than Steve Zetro’s ever were, god bless the man. Nothing sounds out of place when Dukes screams “THEIR BODIES, THEY BURN AND BLEED UNTIL THEY BOW, MY WORDS THEY HEED!” The man channels Baloff in all the right places, it all works out very nicely.

You know what the best way for me to describe the overall sound of Let There be Blood? It sounds like a live Exodus show. If you’ve seen Exodus play within the last three years and enjoyed it, you will have no reason not to enjoy this rerecording. Those defining solo passages still slice you to the core, the riffs still rape and murder you wife, and the drumming still does something else quoted from Bonded by Blood. Of course, if you haven’t heard that album yet, the original and 1997 live album are of higher priority than this release: I would generally recommend seeing Exodus play live as an alternative to this album. But if that isn’t an option for you, and you want to know what those Bay Area heroes sound like in concert nowadays, I’d wholeheartedly recommend picking this up if you can get it for a cheap deal. The main reason this album is so great is because the original is nigh-perfect, but that doesn’t make this release any worse. Let There be Blood isn’t completely necessary to a thrash collection like the original or Another Lesson in Violence, but the music, production and general enjoyment factor of this release is high. In other words, nearly all the complaints leveled against this album are incorrect: it is worthy.

Ya'll niggaz ain't real, ya just some play play...