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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.