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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.