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Pleasures of thrash metal - 95%

Felix 1666, October 10th, 2014
Written based on this version: 1987, 12" vinyl, Music for Nations

During the period between their legendary debut and this album, Exodus had undergone a clear change. The very homogenous songwriting formula of the first full-length had turned to a new approach which was a bit more diversified. The lyrics of "Pleasures of the Flesh" covered a wider range of topics and did not only deal with brutality and violence as an end in itself. The unusual cover motif was more or less socially acceptable and, last but not least, Zetro Souza showed up as the new lead vocalist after the departure of Paul Baloff.

Zetro performed in a convincing way. He picked up the vibration of each and every song while resisting the temptation to copy the vocal style that Paul Baloff had chosen on "Bonded by Blood". The unchanged instrumental section worked in a technically flawless manner. Anything else would have been a great surprise after their mature performance on the debut. Overall, the band played tight while presenting the coherent song material. The tracks themselves showed a multifaceted picture and they benefitted from a clear and powerful production.

"Bonded by Blood" had offered some slower parts, but its successor revealed tunes that flew completely at a leisurely pace. This loss of speed did not go hand in hand with a lack of quality. Mid-tempo tunes such as "´Til Death Do Us Part" or "Braindead" left a lot of space for the guitars to create an intense atmosphere. Due to its powerful guitar lines, the ending of the first-mentioned song was the most clear-cut example. Furthermore, these two songs profitted from the excellent riffs that pointed them in the right direction. By the way, it goes without saying that the album included a large number of captivating riffs. They sounded edgy (for example, listen to "Parasite") and marked definitely the trademark of the band´s sound. In my humble opinion, the majority of the riffs would still be predestined to teach children the splendour of thrash metal. It is just a pity that I do not know a school where thrash metal is taught. Clearly, this state of affairs needs changing.

The versatile album presented a lot of highlights. The epic yet aggressive title track with its original jungle intro dominated the B side, but the menacing "Chemi-Kill" was certainly no less exciting due to its bulky riffing and the sociocritical lyrics. Please pay attention to the fine difference, a song about industrial pollution would have been unimaginable on their debut. The A side was almost flawless, only its final track did not meet the highest demands. Incidentally, the same went for the last tune of the B side. But do not get me wrong, each and every song made a - larger or smaller - positive contribution to the final result. The only exception was a short piece that featured just acoustic guitars. But this tune did not bother me due to its brevity.

Exodus had to deliver a worthy successor for their groundbreaking debut and they mastered the task almost perfectly. They knew that they were at risk to release a lukewarm second part of the debut if they did not find a new musical direction. It was therefore a wise decision to change their compositional approach according to the motto "as much as necessary, as little as possible". Of course, "Bonded by Blood" remained their masterpiece. But "Pleasures of the Flesh" became a serious competitor. Honestly, I fear that Exodus will never again achieve this level of musical brilliance. Too many attempts have failed.

A Mostly Dissapointing Followup. - 74%

Metal_Jaw, March 19th, 2012

After the legendary "Bonded By Blood" in 1985, the sky seemed like the limit for Exodus. Two years and one new singer later came "Pleasures of the Flesh" in 1987. The result: it wasn't "Bonded By Blood". In fact, it's so not "Bonded By Blood" that it hurts. That album was raw, fast, and straightforward. "Pleasures" is a different, somewhat annoying beast entirely.

First off, the production doesn't suit the music. It's too clean-cut and clear; "Bonded" comes out on top in this regard thanks to a raw, low-budget production. Second, the lyrics. We have lots of unusual plays on words and an odd sense of humor that would become an Exodus mainstay in their music; this goes over better on albums like "Impact Is Imminent" or especially "Fabulous Disaster". But here, it seems so stale and out of place.

Third, then new guy Steve "Zetro" Souza. He remains controversial today, but frankly I don't mind him. His style is good enough; sort of an American Udo Dirkschnieder channeling a peppering of Baloff. Everyone else from the last album is in tow. Holt and Hunolt ( that could get confusing) get aggressively technical again, saving a number of songs with passable riffs and solos. McKillop's bass is a bit more audible this time, but not enough to really make a major difference; there's always that hum. Hunting bashes out the kit once more. This time he stretches his creativity a bit more here, mixing more technical moments with the occasional double bass/snare slaughter.

Easily the most disappointing aspect here are the songs themselves. Riffs tend to just come and go, and there's nothing terribly noteworthy. There's an unfortunate lack of notable soloing as well; Hunolt and Holt just sort of riff and shred, allowing for servicable headbanging but little else. A number of songs are also cursed with those annoying intros or bizarre sound samples, like the overlong, stupid intro to "Deranged", the silly jungle sounds that start the title track or the completely pointless "30 Seconds". A few tracks like the fearsome "Brain Dead" or cool tracks like "Faster Than You'll Ever Live To Be" or "Choose Your Weapon" benefit from the merciless shredding and at least a few decent throwaway riffs, but at the end of the day it comes off lackluster.

Overall, this album isn't terribly bad so much as disappointing. The band performs nicely but the songs suffer from the overly high-end production, resulting in more timid thrashing. Sure some aggression and headbangibility are to be found, but the oh so so-so amount of songs kill any chances of the listener giving this mother another spin anytime soon. Don't expect "Bonded By Blood", which is a problem.

Skull Full Of Vodka - 85%

grain_silo, August 1st, 2011

“Pleasures of the Flesh” seems to be the forgotten Exodus album. I’m not sure why, I just haven’t heard much about this album. This marks the first album with Zetro and this album kills.

The production is better than “Bonded by Blood” but honestly, not by much. The guitars are still pretty thin but are heavier than the debut. The drums sound way better but the snare is so damn loud it kind of hides the rest of the drums. The bass is still too quiet and you don’t really ever hear it except for a few parts, (“Brain Dead”). With all these things, I’d still take this production over their later albums since they've had the exact same sound since "Tempo".

Zetro’s vocals on here are fantastic. He had big shoes to fill after Paul, and I think he did so quite well. I don’t think this is his best performance but he did an amazing job.

Although still slower than the debut, (but most albums are), this album still delivers in the speed department. “Deranged” starts with a talking intro that sounds pretty deranged (HA) and then the speed kicks in just like on “BBB”. The riffs on this album are just amazing. “Til Death Do Us Part” starts with a pretty cool drum intro and is one of the slower songs on here. Doesn’t really pick up speed at all, but I’m glad they did this because I prefer a few mid-paced songs rather than 100mph all the time. Where the second track didn’t deliver with blistering speed, they make up for it “Parasite”. “Brain Dead” is another slower song with some awesome gang vocals. “Faster Than You’ll Ever Be” is exactly what you expect from the title; fast, fast, and fast. It is very reminiscent of the first album and is just an awesome song with some very heavy riffs. The title track starts with an intro that sounds like you’re about to eaten by cannibals and goes into a cool riff. This song has a very good mixture of mid-paced and speed. “30 Seconds” is 42 seconds and is just a guitar part. I guess it’s a good breather from all the thrash you just went through, maybe as a joke, who knows? “Seeds of Hate” is my personal favorite from this album. The drum intro is awesome and the riff is catchy and is just amazing. Tom Hunting also shows off his double bass skills on this song especially. “Chemi-Kill” has a pretty catchy chorus and is another mid-paced song. The last track is a good thrashing closer to a great album.

This album seems to be overlooked and I can’t figure out why. If you liked “BBB”, you will love this album, and if you don’t then I don’t know what to tell you, this is true classic Exodus.

Best tracks – “Seeds of Hate”, “Parasite”, and “Faster Than You’ll Ever Be”

A Pleasure Indeed - 85%

DawnoftheShred, February 26th, 2010

Though Bonded by Blood is historically THE Exodus record to worship, I’ve always felt it was the testament of a band just shy of their full potential. I mean, lose that maniac on vocals and sharpen the axes, so to speak, and the boys could really start to cook. Proof? Pleasures of the Flesh, the first album with Steve “Zetro” Souza on vocal duties, while not as resounding a classic as the band’s debut, is a tighter, meaner production that stands at least as tall, if not a few inches above its predecessor.

Souza’s presence is the most obvious improvement over BbB. Though not yet performing at his peak, his distinctive vocals are as much a trademark of the Exodus sound as Holt’s energetic riff attack, the gang vocals, and the dueling leads. He also adds the option of occasional melody, something Baloff was not attuned to, which makes an immeasurable difference for tracks like “Seeds of Hate” and “Chemi-Kill.” Not to slight Baloff though, as a lot of the lyrics on this album must still be credited to him and they’re a bit more varied and interesting than his earlier work, though admittedly less violent.

Musically, we find the logical maturation of the raw elements displayed so excellently on Bonded by Blood. The fast tracks are more devastating and the riffs tend to be a bit more atonal/ascalar, as evidenced by the jagged chromatic lines of “Deranged” or the accurately titled “Faster Than You’ll Ever Live to Be.” There’s a greater emphasis on slower passages and mid-paced songs, the latter of which would be their Achilles’ heel as they plunged into the 90’s. But here the songs are more calculated, more memorable, and never feel drawn out or boring. “Til Death Do Us Part” and “Brain Dead” are the kind of instantly moshable material that Exodus does best, while “Chemi-Kill” has an interesting clean bit that recurs throughout the song that calls to mind Metal Church’s “Method to Your Madness.” And the title track, nice fucking riff! That exotic, serpentine series of notes that begins the song proper (and comes back with a vengeance throughout) carries the band through one of the best songs they’ve ever done. Listen to the way the second guitar harmonizes around the main theme, the notes wrapping around one another like a python strangling another fucking python. Goddamn electric. It is sequences like this that make me listen to thrash in the first place (thou doth not choose to listen to thrash metal, thrash makes you listen to thrash metal).

Other improvements include the overall production, which is more even and professional (although it’s sometimes hard to hear the bass drum, see “Parasite.” Either Hunting’s playing a weird ass beat or the drum volume should have come up). The guitar solos are also far more memorable than on the debut, the H-team starting to live up to the silly nickname they’ve given themselves. Come back next album though, ‘cause they’ve really done it there.

Anyway, on the surface, Pleasures of the Flesh surpasses Bonded by Blood in most conceivable ways. Unfortunately, it’s also the first Exodus album to be stricken by dumb ideas, something Bonded had no time for in its manic frenzy. In this case, it’s a bunch of pointless, overly long intro sequences. There’s that long babbling Jack Nicholson sound-alike to start off the album, that shorter, buzzy thing before “Parasite,” and nearly a minute of tribal drumming before the title track. All of which serve as nothing more than time wasters between riffs. Even “30 Seconds” (which the CD proves is more like 40 seconds), nice though it is, continually gives the impression that Gary Holt only threw it on the album so that his Mum wouldn’t think all of those classical guitar lessons went to waste in light of all the noisy tomfoolery him and his pals seemed to prefer. The album would have done just as well without these little distractions and I would have less to complain about; a win-win.

In the end though, I can’t really say I prefer it over BbB. I’ve probably listened to it more over the last five years, but each album has its strengths and weaknesses. If you like one, you’ll probably find the other complementary.

Highlights: “Pleasures of the Flesh,” “Seeds of Hate,” “Faster Than You’ll Ever Live to Be”

A few really bad flaws. - 89%

avidmetal, December 23rd, 2009

The main criticism that has been thrown to this album is that is "Mid-paced thrash fodder" or "There's no Baloff here", I can assure you, That is false. Exodus could not have hoped for a better replacement than Steve "Zetro" Souza. This might be 'mid-paced' but there's a lot of good songwriting and progress to be found on this one. Which makes up for the shortage of speed. Mostly.

I personally think this is almost as good as 'Bonded By Blood'. The production is great, There are plenty of intricate guitar work to be found on this album, Zetro's vocals are almost as good as Baloff's, Both are similar in many ways. The tracks are not repetitive, Some of them focus on speed while others focus on atmosphere such as 'Till death do us part'. There is no constant loud "dikka dikka" blast beats on all the tracks, They are used when needed to be. This album feels much like a more mature version of Bonded by blood. The crazy lyrics are still to be found here, but there is a lot less 'boasting' and more focused on subjects. 'Deranged' is about a guy pretending to be sane in prison, waiting to get out and start killing again, This is another classic exodus song, The solo is excellent, The riffs here are catchy. 'Faster than you'll ever live to be" is total mayhem, Souza's vocals here work really well, I don't see how Baloff could've done any better. The track keeps getting faster and faster as it gets towards its ends, will certainly make your head and neck sore.

'Seeds of Hate' is arguably the best track on the whole album, Features some intricate and original riffs. Gary Holt is a monster, His guitar work has both intricacy and intensity and loads of it, Souza has a lot less 'maniacal' tone on this song and his tone is a lot more atmospheric. The song has a great solo and speeds up towards the end just like most songs on this album. There are plenty of the vintage exodus style 'group shouting' lyrics to be found here, Just like in bonded by blood.

There are a few disappointing things about the album, The intro of the first track of this album is just way too long and it makes no sense whatsoever, Some guy speaking. There is a 30 second instrumental track, which has no purpose of being in a full studio album, it would've worked on a demo. The title track is disappointing to be honest. The album starts to drag at the end. Steve souza's vocals can be absolutely irritating at times, Which i guess is his biggest flaw.

Overall, An excellent album, Worth buying, Exodus would slowly go downhill after 'Fabulous Disaster'. They never reached these heights again, If you're a fan of thrash metal and don't mind some mid paced thrash, Get this, This certainly isn't the worst choice you can make.

Gone Thrashin' Chapter 2: Pleasures of Mid Pace. - 72%

Empyreal, January 23rd, 2009

Exodus's debut album Bonded By Blood was one Hell of an album, and while I haven't reviewed it yet, you can be assured that in my books, it's pretty much the pinnacle of Metal's ballsy, poser-slaughtering, leather-and-spikes aesthetic, leaving no survivors in its blazing trail of unbridled fury across the listener's poor, delicate ears. With such a rip-roaring Metal classic of a debut, what was the band to do to follow it up? Well, it turns out that their game plan get slower, chunkier, and slightly less coherent. Hooray?

So here we have a more "progressive" Exodus, if that's the right word to use, because I cannot think of any other. This seems to be the logical path for most bands after creating a great album, to branch out and do something "different," so as to not be thriving in their own shadows, and sometimes it works, but most of the time it just provides the public with weaker albums like this one. Pleasures of the Flesh actually gets off to a really, really good start, with "Deranged," being just as good as any of the better stuff on the debut. New vocalist Steve 'Zetro' Souza doesn't sound quite as animalistic as Baloff, possessing more of a traditional Thrash yammer, and he sounds pretty good here, if not a bit unfocused, but we all know the riffs are what we stay for on an Exodus album, and boy do they ever deliver on this song. They just chug and snarl and gallop away, and by the end of this song, I am a happy man.

However, you just knew there was going to be a "however." The next song is called "Til Death Do Us Part," and the first thing that strikes you is, what happened to my fast, gut-ripping Exodus attack? Now, I haven't listened to any Exodus albums in full after this one, this normal for them? It isn't a bad song, with some nice riffs, but it lacks the linear, aggressive feel that the debut material had. An alright experiment, but where is my fast Exodus? Well, the next two songs are better, with some heavier, chunkier riffs, but it's with "Faster Than You'll Ever Live to Be" that the band kick it up a notch, with riffs that actually seem to be going for your throat again, and man, that title is bad-ass. The title track is weird and experimental, starting out with some tribal sounds and a bird cawing, and then kicking into a ripping, melodic Thrash attack that I quite like, probably the second best song on here.

However, then we kick into "30 Seconds," which is stupid and useless, and serves no point at all other than to annoy the listener with this meandering little melody that stops after forty-two seconds. I'm sorry, what? I mean, I at least expect musicians to be able to count. Yergh...oh, fuck it, moving on. "Seeds of Hate," featuring the most annoying hook on the album, is okay, but fairly unmemorable, oddly enough. "Chemi-Kill" totally sucks, alternating the Thrash riffs with annoying melodies that just don't seem to work with the song at all, and after that, the last song is okay, but I just cannot get into it after that. Ehh...

So we have a bit of a mixed bag, with some good songs, but a lot of experimental and less good stuff that I just can't get into. About half of this is fun, headbangable Thrash attacks, and even the rest of the stuff isn't totally unlistenable, so I guess I can't say this was a wasted effort. Certainly no masterpiece, but it's alright.

Originally written for

Stuck in between two classics, though still good. - 85%

IWP, May 6th, 2008

After the amazing and lethal Bonded By Blood, Exodus eventually had to make a follow up to their classic thrashter-piece. Thye worked on a demo which had the pissed off Paul Baloff on vocals, so it looked as though they wer going to come out with a Bonded By Blood part II. However, something went wrong. Paul left the band for whatever reason so they had to find a new singer. Thus, they had found one in former Testament (then known as Legacy) singer, Steve Setro. While he does not have the attitude and balls of Baloff, Setro is overall a better singer than him. He has more vocal range and control than Baloff. However, with Setro on vocals, we all knew that this album was not going to be a Bonded By Blood part II, and it isn't.

It has production that is almost similar to Bonded, but the sound is different, and that doesn't sound too good. The riffs aren't as good, and the drumming isn't as lethal either. However, it does have one thing over BBB, and that things cathciness. This album is generally catchier than BBB, though not quite as catchy and fun as the mighty Fabulous Diasaster that would come two years later. So this album is kind of stuck in between the two albums, and sounds a little like both albums, though lacks the abilty that both albums have.

Fear not though, this album is still pretty damn good, and it kicks ass at times as well. The best songs on here surprisingly have to be Chemi-Kill and the ultra-catchy Brain Dead. The latter track has a nice fun riff that carries the song through, and almost sounds like a proto-type Toxic Waltz. This song could've been a hit, especially for 1987 when thrash was just starting to get mainstream attention. It's fun, it's catchy, and the riffs and solo kick ass. Seeds of Hate is also pretty fucking aweosme as well, tohugh probably would've sounded better with Baloff on vocals. It wouldn't have sounded too out of place on Bonded By Blood as it's fast with good ass riffs.

About the only problem I have with this album is that some of the songs do end up sounding a little alike. We get one good riff here, change it around a little and throw it in a different song, rinse, wash, repeat. For example, Deranged, Parasite, Faster Than You'll Ever Live To Be, and Choose Your Weapon all are good fast songs with good riffs, but they kinda get repetative which causes the listener to get bored after a while. This is also why this album is not worthy of a 90, or even an 88%. If it weren't for the absolute highlight, Brain Dead, it would've gtten a much lower rating.

This is actually the worst out of Exodus's first five albums. Hell, I even liked Force of Habit better than this. Knowing that though, it's still pretty damn good. It's just stuck in between two classic albums in the form of Bonded By Blood and Fabulous Disasater. It's good though. All five albums are worth owning, and this album is actually better than the majority of Testament's material, and that's saying something. Get this if you happen to find it in your local music store.

It's no BbB, but it's still pretty good - 72%

ThrashingMad, November 3rd, 2007

So this was the second full length offering from Exodus, and it's pretty different from Bonded by Blood. This was due to a couple of things. One was that their former vocalist Paul Baloff was replaced with Steve "Zetro" Souza, and there styles differ a fair amount from each other. Also this album found Exodus in a state of artistic "progression". They were moving away from the completely fucking balls out thrasher that were displayed on the first album, and moving on to the lighter thrash sound that was so fucking popular at the time. So pretty much anyone that worshipped Bonded by Blood (i.e. everyone) should have seen that this album wasn't going to be nearly as good as its predecessor. While I would love to say that these people were proved dead fucking wrong, I can't because this album doesn't even come close to the quality of Bonded by fucking Blood. Now with that said this is not a bad album at all. For what it is, it's actually pretty fucking good. It definitely has its flaws but overall it is a quality release and a good listen.

So I'll start off with the bad stuff. The biggest problem with this album is that it feels incomplete at times. Like they crank out a few really good riffs, they write a great chorus, but the verses fall flat. Of course there are different variations of this. The song "Till Death Do Us Part" really suffers from this. It has an awesome main riff and a good chorus riff, but the verses just sound tired and boring. It sounds as if halfway through the song Exodus just got tired and went to bed. The thing is I can't really call the song bad simply because of the kick ass riffs. The one at 2:51 is particularly good. "Brain Dead" is another sort of incomplete song. Again it's got some good riffs and the verses are decent, but the chorus is bad, and I mean really bad. It consists of Zetro whispering, yes whispering, braaaain dead a few times. Whispering should never be used in metal and much less in a fucking Exodus song. Come on guys, what are you thinking? The other problem with this album is that there seems to be a lot of random, stupid shit thrown in for no reason. The title track is a very good song but for some reason it has about a minute of stupid jungle noises at the start. My question is why. Why would this be necessary in a song? It doesn't give the song any sense of atmosphere and it definitely doesn't sound good. Then there is the stupid song "30 seconds" which is basically just someone fucking around with an acoustic guitar. The track is worthless and shouldn't be on the album.

While this album does have a number of flaws, the majority of it is good. All of the songs, besides the ones mentioned above, are pretty good at the worst. Most of the good songs are at about the same level, but there are a few all out highlights on here. "Deranged" is a fucking face-melter of a song. The intro riff is excellent, so is the verse riff. It has a really good chorus and a long but well done solo. The song really wouldn't sound at all out of place on BbB. "Seeds of Hate" is the best song on the album. The riffs are really good through the whole song. The verses are good and the chorus is pretty damn catchy. However, the part that really makes this song a classic is the insane middle section, with an amazing riff at 2:20.

As I said before the difference in the vocal styles of Baloff and Zetro is a quite drastic one. While Zetro's vocals are good, they don't pack the same punch as Baloff's did. Baloff's vocal possessed this feeling of blind rage that really cannot be replicated. Zetro's vocals are pretty good. They are high-pitched and have this sort of snotty, for lack of a better term, feel to them. They’re kind of tongue in cheek in a way. Think about this, if Baloff's vocals are yelled with aggression, then Zetro's vocals are said with a smirk. If Baloff is Henry Rollins, then Zetro is Keith Morris. Analogies aside, Zetro is a good vocalist in his own right, but he is nothing compared to the thrash metal beast that is Paul Baloff.

In the end this album is a good one. It has some flaws but all in all they're pretty easy to ignore. The majority of the songs are good and some of them are fucking great. This album was a little disappointing because it came out after Bonded by Blood, but on it's own it is definitely a good listen.

Very underrated thrash classic - 92%

bayareashredder, September 16th, 2007

With the highly successful Bonded By Blood, Exodus was hailed as an essential thrash metal band. However, after the album, vocalist Paul Baloff would depart from the band. That didn't stop them though, and they replaced Baloff with Steve "Zetro" Souza, singer of fellow bay area thrash band Legacy (who would change their name to Testament). This was a great move as Zetro is easily a much better vocalist than Baloff. His voice is insane, evil, and very unique. Zetro's vocals are what makes Pleasure of the Flesh better than Bonded By Blood in my opinion.

The other members of the make the music amazing along with Zetro's vocals. Guitarists Rick Hunolt and Gary Holt are a great team, switching off leads and solos and shredding like crazy. The riffs are just as killer as the solos. Bassist Rob McKillop does a great job as a bass player, giving the riffs and guitars that amazing extra kick. Drummer Tom Hunting is amazing, almost up there with Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. His double bass and tom fills all kick ass on this album.

The songs on this album are some classic thrash tunes. Deranged, Till Death Do Us Part, Parasite, Brain Dead, and Chemi-kill are all standout tracks and every other track is amazing also.

I find Pleasures of the Flesh to be one of the most underrated albums in all of thrash. While Bonded By Blood put Exodus up with other thrashers, POTF, in my opinion is the superior album with better vocals, guitars, songs, production, etc. If you're looking for a killer thrash album, then you won't go wrong with buying Pleasures of the Flesh.

Faster than you'll ever live to be - 92%

Demon_of_the_Fall, January 11th, 2005

Pleasures of the Flesh...a name that when said brings chills up ones spine. Released 2 years after one of the most revolutionary thrash metal albums of all time "Bonded by Blood", Pleasure takes off in a fresher direction expanding their already furious speed thrash assault from the bowels of hell itself. The riffs here fucking rule, nuff said. The solos from both Hunolt and Holt are blazing, but not only that they are well executed, meaning they definatly took alot of time in writing the solos because they all sound different and hooky as shit. Hell I would buy this album simply for the guitar solos. Jesus christ and the drumming from Tom fucking Hunting is bloody incredible. Listen to Chemi-Kill or Seeds if Hate for a good reference. The bass is furiously played by Rob McKillop, "Choose your Weapon" I noticed recently has some crazy bass. This has to be in my top 5 greatest thrash albums of all time. Without Paul Baloff (metal messiah), another vocal giant makes his debut and he is Steve "Zetro" Souza who does an amazing job on here with his maniac like vocals.

I don't understand why people don't give Pleasures of the Flesh more credit, i suppose because every song is different, but this is most definatly quality fucking thrash! The production for 1987 is pretty good, you can hear everything, and i grew to love the production. I suppose the reason i praise this album to no end is because it gives me exactally what I could ever want in a metal album, because every track is quality, and this is some of the best 80's thrash. Also the songs are intelligently arranged and the lyrics really grab out at you. Pleasure's has some of the most evil music ever recorded. Listen to the title track or "Parasite". This album should be any thrash fans wet dream. I recall upon first listen, all i heard (the first 30 seconds of Deranged) was some lunatic nutjob raving about his epileptic seizures, eating a nice salad, then suddenly bursting into one of speed metal finest tracks.

In conclution this is a essential thrasher, and if you don't already own it you must be Braindead.

Best Tracks: Deranged, Til' Death do us part, Parasite, Braindead, Pleasures Of The Flesh, Seeds Of Hate, Chemi-kill

well-done, though helped usher in whiffle-thrash - 75%

UltraBoris, October 18th, 2004

By 1987, thrash as a genre was basically out of the creative stage, well into the refinement stage, and entering the recession stage. The second Exodus album may have helped hinge the genre towards one of its most onerous developments: whiffle thrash.

Whiffle thrash, as practiced by bands like Sacred Reich and a thousand others, combines leftist-political and personal-violence lyrics with slightly weakened riffage, and a generally more poppy and upbeat production. While at times the work is still extremely enjoyable (Anthrax's "State of Euphoria"), there is also a huge potential for self-parody (Sacred Reich, "The American Way", Testament "Practice What You Preach"), and these efforts are not nearly as rotten-to-the-core as the thrash genre's evil progenitors: Slayer, Dark Angel, Kreator, etc etc...

And of course, add to that list, the first Exodus album. For 1985, a hallmark of brutality, that would've set the world afire in 1986, and completely ripped face had it been released on time in 1984. But by 1987, Exodus seemed to turn in a somewhat different direction. A 1986 demo with Baloff on vocals seemed to hint at Bonded by Blood Part II, but somewhere between that, and the release of this LP, things went in a more commercial direction.

Not overtly, incredibly so, of course. This is no Master of Puppets, and not even an Impact is Imminent or a The New Order. This does not drip with poseurrific lechery. It's just got sort of a soft production and a generally happy vocal delivery, combined with riffs that just don't hit hard with sawblades, like on the previous album. So I cannot pronounce this album BAD, I just cannot enjoy it in the context of its predecessor, and even the demo for it.

I keep mentioning this three-song demo: Seeds of Hate, Pleasures of the Flesh, and Brain Dead, all appeared on this LP. Brain Dead is the catchiest, most power-metallish number of the three, and would not have made quite as much sense on Bonded by Blood as the other two... even with Baloff's bizarro delivery, it is still melodic in a completely different way than, say, "And Then There Were None". There are sing-along choruses, and then there are sing-along choruses.

The other two, and also the non-demo tracks "Faster Than You'll Live to Be" and "Deranged", are Bonded-by-Blood thrashers, just with the aforementioned slightly cute production. This isn't the first-two-Razor speed metal holocaust, or even the slightly overcompressed sound of the third Overkill... this is basically Bonded by Blood, just without the edge. I cannot see Zetro going off at the crowd, demanding the blood of poseurs. Baloff was just a fucking maniac, and that showed in the entire band's performance. Here, we've got silly intros (title track, Deranged), random interludes (30 seconds), and the production, complete with that very recognisable not-quite-thrash lead guitar tone (you know it when you hear it!), as I mentioned, is just a slight bit poppish in that mid-80s-Judas-Priest style. Ram it Down, while sonically not close, is stylistically an equivalent.

The rest of the album? Try the political stuff of Chemi-Kill, and the generic aggression of Parasite - concepts that would come up later on such things as basically the whole Impact is Imminent album. They are pretty good songs... but you can see Zetro getting just a bit funny here: "tumors are growing in my spleen, the children are turning green". This isn't the persecution mania he would deliver on "I'm no patriot, just a hateriot", which is so over-the-top that it is believable again. This manages to be neither here nor there. See also his delivery in the opening line of "Til 'Death Do Us Part", which sounds like he's either just warming up, or trying his best Donny Osmond impression.

But, I rag on this album far too much. Exodus's first few are really quite good - it's only around Impact is Imminent where they fell off the map, and Force of Habit wasn't all that bad, and of course the new one is a crash-course in brain-fuck. There is some really great shit here... the title track alternates nicely between some rage riffs and that melodic riff... Chemi-Kill is not as cheesy as I had made it out to be, with the lyrics coming together quite nicely in that way only Zetro can do. Deranged, aside from the stupid intro (which is disconcerting in that it is twice as loud in the right channel as in the left), is quite awesome, as is Faster Than You'll Ever Live to Be, which Testament kindly borrowed and turned into "The Preacher".

Yep, listen to this, and you can hear good ideas being aped into bad ideas. But do listen, as it is a pretty good album. I find myself listening to it quite a bit, though again, expect no Bonded by Blood.

Energetic Thrash along the right lines - 76%

Wez, June 22nd, 2004

Man! This band have been getting a lot of play from me recently, standard Bay Area crunchy Thrash Metal, which certainly does the trick for me! Plentiful on the energy, solid in the songwriting and exploding with untamed attitude. But when it comes down to it, there are stil a few hurdles the band have to get over, they're a little sloppy at times which leaves the whole thing falling behind, taking away potentially memorable Thrash songs, you can look on the tracklisting on the back and think "How on earth does that song go again?" while looking down and remembering that really amazing riff from the title track. Give it a few years and maybe I'll know every note but for now the high points stand out clearly after each listen and leave the rest behind. I also play the follow up "Fabulous Disaster" a lot more and this album gets generally left on the shelf. Sometimes they also get some really neat ideas and don't follow them through for a whole song, you get the old ups and downs thing which is irritating. The album is generally more consistent than the follow up in the general style its going for (there's no questionable and out of the way filler, minus the falsely advertised "30 seconds", more like 40 seconds lol), but those problems really do it in on occassion. Now away with the downside to this potentially classic Thrash platter, and onto the good stuff!

As I said, this album is definitely on the right lines generally, Steve Souza's shredding and shrill voice has got the right attitude for the music, and the whole band seems to be having a fun time, with a playful side throwing in some humour to mix with the serious political attacks and general Thrash concerns. Nothing on here is over the top or trying too hard to do more than simply get solid results. The highlights include "Brain Dead" carried along by its catchy main riff, the title track, on the right aggressive track with plenty of substance, "Seeds of Hate" with those unstoppable leads and "Chemi-Kill". The rest wanders from the very good to being undermined by the general problems I highlighted, also suffering from a slightly weak production. This album should nonetheless go into an Exodus collection, the energy is infectious! It does work together with "Fabulous Disaster" as a worthy 2 album "set" but is the weakest part.

Feel the power of your unholy death! - 84%

Nightcrawler, March 18th, 2004

"Pleasures of the Flesh" is one of those albums that rarely gets mentioned when discussing a band. But I don’t see why; this is definitely a killer slab of thrash. It’s no "Bonded By Blood", that’s for sure, but what is?
Most people seem to complain about the sound quality and heaviness (or lack thereof) but on the Century Media reissue that I’ve got, the sound is pretty fucking killer. A bit sharper, cleaner and less raw than "Bonded", true, but still works very well and some of the riffs here really do tear shit up.
The biggest change though is of course that of vocalists. Paul Baloff was the fucking man, no arguments there, and Steve “Zetro” Souza will never really be able to touch him. However, Zetro’s generally higher pitched and rather menacing vocal style works very well with the more controlled and thought-out direction that the band seems to take with the songwriting.
The monster riffs are still there, but this is not an all out riff fest, there’s a lot of other interesting elements abound as well, some better than others.
A few examples of this are the bizarre intros found on some songs ("Deranged", "Parasite", and most notably the title track), showing a pretty humorous side that they’d further explore eventually. But the songwriting in itself just isn’t as manic and riff-after-riff based as that of the previous album, and that works pretty damn well on here. But make no mistake; this still manages to smash your face on over and over with riffs heavy as anvils. Check out the crushing fast-paced verse riff of "Parasite" for example. Or how ‘bout the devastating but sinisterly melodic main riff of "Deranged"? And let’s not forget… "Chemi-Kill"! The mellow intro drags on a bit, but when it gets going, that one riff is one of the best riffs I’ve heard. Hell yes, the H-Team does not let up one bit in the kicking of your ass.

Another strength of the album is that it’s very consistent, and to me doesn’t really have any weaker songs. The midpaced "‘Til Death Do Us Part" is somewhat less awesome than the rest, but redeems itself somewhat with some really cool lyrics. Also, the short acoustic instrumental 30 Seconds is pretty damn useless, but that’s easily forgivable, keeping in mind that it is only about 40 seconds (stupid inaccurate song title, it annoys me).

But aside from those two, this is all killer. The highlights would be the menacing "Deranged" (both lyrically and musically. “They think that they’ve got me trained, but I know I’m really deranged!” Fun as shit to sing along to), the awesome, fast-paced Wild West song "Faster Than You’ll Ever Live To Be" (featuring some of the coolest lyrics and catchiest vocals on here- and let’s not forget about the riffs! That middle break especially is fucking nuts), and "Chemi-Kill", for that one riff alone. But "Brain Dead" is so damn catchy it’s not funny. And then "Seeds of Hate" has some really fucking heavy moments awesome for headbanging (a bit of a shame that they made the main riff to slow down into this weird melodic section towards the end though), and of course the monstrous closer "Choose Your Weapon", which, simply put, slays.

All in all, with "Pleasures of the Flesh", Exodus definitely gave us a worthy follow-up to one of the best thrash albums around. Criminally underrated, this, and that’s a bloody shame. Get it, and let Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt tear yourself a new asshole or three, as you “Feel the power of your unholy death!” Or something like that. Yeah, this kicks ass, get it.