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Exodus Returns...Better Than Ever! - 94%

Fatal_Metal, October 8th, 2005

I'll say this right at the beginning - what we have here is the best thrash record for many years and an intense comeback for underrated thrash-masters Exodus. Tempo of the Damned was showered with praise since its release and I too am here to praise and not berate it. Never has a thrash album been this sarcastic since The Anti-Christ or as Riff-oriented as Torture Squad's Horror and Torture and though they don’t play fast here - its bludgeoning mid-paced riffs more than make up for it.

Exodus were always the underdogs in the thrash movement even though they were superior to many of the thrash bands at the time. Bonded by Blood and Fabulous Disaster were classics in the genre but Exodus were never recognized as much as Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer or Anthrax (known as the big four). Out of these, Metallica has always been the far too overrated one and Anthrax should never be taken seriously (NEVER!). Even though they were appreciated by the scene they never reached the levels of hype or popularity these "Big Four" bands did. Yet, despite being pushed down Exodus always come out with an Iron Fist, take for instance THIS very album - after releasing the terrible Impact Is Imminent and the average Force Of Habit, Exodus have reformed with Zetro after a live album and brief stint with former vocalist Paul Baloff who sadly passed away a short time later. The band joined up with Zetro to soldier on the Exodus spirit in Baloff's name and oh my Baloff is damn proud of this album I'm sure!

This album see's Exodus combine Pure Thrash with some Half-thrash elements and groove. Lets address some of the flaws that people complain about - Exodus always play Mid-paced here and that people feel discouraged by that, but since when were Exodus bad at Mid-paced riffage? Has everyone forgotten Toxic Waltz and other such classics? Many people complain about Zetros voice but I can’t find anything wrong with this! Don’t believe whoever says Zetro sucks here cause they're most likely a bunch of pussies who cant take raw, harsh vocals and probably love Sum41's lead singer's voice. The groove in songs such as Throwing Down and Sealed with a Fist. I never was a fan of groove but both of these songs do well with their groove elements. When music is done well no matter what form it is, it's got to be appreciated. Next, the rapping in Forward March. I am not a guy who says "Yo Dude, That’s a PHAT tune" or something like that but I bet no Rap fan would enjoy this, Zetro doesn't overdo it anyway so just quit it.

Now since all the flaws have been checked, let’s check out the good points of the CD. Doing a track by track review would be a waste of time since every song here is above average but I will point out the strong points here. The lyrics are awesome, Zetro combines tongue-in-cheek and rhyme perfectly and manages to come up with some great lyrics that'd make you roll on the floor with laughter. Opener Scar Spangled Banner with its riff heaviness has some of the cheekiest lyrics ever "I'm no patriot/Just a hate-riot" and such lines make this even more memorable than the first class play on here has. Next follows THE best song on this album - War Is My Sheppard. The title would raise many a Catholic's hair and the lyrics are just as In-Your-Face and Brutal as the song with Zetro shrieking everywhere almost reminiscent of Dani Filth except a million times better, the chorus is awesome - War! War! War! War Is My Sheppard! Just right for a live concert.

Then appears Blacklist which is another good song - a good chorus and more riff excess makes it a must. Zetro sounds really pissed off in this song and the chorus is just perfect for that kind of vocal attitude. Then Shroud of Urine which is another absolute highlight of the album- not because of its lyrics (which are good as well), not because of Zetro's vocals (which are awesome as well), not because of its chorus (which has hair-raising shrieks from Zetro) but because of that solo there at 2:24. Just listen how it easily compares with many of Judas Priests solos, it slowly builds up and always keeps a great sense of melody within it. Perfect solo if you ask me. Next up is the controversial Forward March which features an issue I have addressed earlier; the song is above-average with some good vocal lines :). Culling The Herd is probably the albums weakest song - its slow and bland, Enjoyable but pretty predictable in the end except for its great solos and a nice chorus. Then Sealed with a Fist is a slow groovy song which people complain quite a lot about, it’s enjoyable, short and the groove isn't overdone.

The album is in its ending stages and I thought it'd be losing steam at least now but I was once again proved wrong. The very controversial Throwing Down which some lunatics even call "nu-metal" just shows that the album isn't dead. Yes, the groove IS overdone but it’s still enjoyable. I'll tell you why - The lyrics = great, the chorus and pre-chorus = rules, the vocals = awesome (esp. during the chorus), that groovy riff = great even though it’s repeated quite a lot, the solo = enjoyable though it has too much wah-wah. Next is the bonded-by-blood session song known as Impaler that's as brutal as the name suggests. Metallica ripped this off Exodus on Trapped under Ice but here Exodus show Metallica how the song is REALLY done! Its awesome, look at that intro-riff just sweet. What Exodus are trying to say is "We're Number One, We hate Sucktallica". Overall, a really enjoyable power thrash song. Last up, the title song which is a fitting closer and has all the ingredients for an enjoyable ride. What especially rules in this song is the chorus and the solo. Awesome!

To conclude this review, I'd like to leave a note on the next album which was just released - This album is not only a great comeback but also a fitting tribute to the late Baloff, Zetro would leave after the release of this and Rob Dukes would come in. I have heard their latest Shovel Headed Killing Machine and I'd say Dukes is trying to imitate Zetro but instead of shrieking he opts for a much hoarser voice than Zetro. I think he is a pretty good replacement for Zetro even though I do miss Zetro's screeching in the new one, anyway what’s done is done and Exodus continues to rule. If you don’t have this album, get it now, if you don’t have the new one, do the same.