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Talk about a valley album... - 50%

Shovel, May 22nd, 2004

There has been a truckload of hype and controversy about this album. Some people call it the return of Exodus, while others dismiss it as another veteran band trying (and failing) to make a comeback.

Tempo of the Damned is the perfect example of what I call a "valley" album, where the best songs are at the beginning and end, while the middle of the album is filler and/or total suckage. Unfortunately, Exodus decided to make 5 fast paced songs (Scar Spangled Banner, War is My Shepard, Shroud of Urine, Impaler, and Tempo of the Damned), and 5 mid/slow paced songs.

As for the fast songs, Scar Spangled Banner opens up with, (again) unfortunately, the best riff on the album. It really reminds you of old Exodus, with the aggression and hatred and all that hoopla. War is My Shepard continues the strong opening, with Zetro screaming like he's never done before. Skip past Blacklist (we'll get to that later), and you come to Shroud of Urine, which is another good, solid thrash song. Shroud of Urine also has some of the coolest (and goofiest) lyrics on the album, with such phrases as "crucifucked" being thrown around. Skip through the next handful of tracks (which, again, we'll tackle in a moment), and you come to Impaler. Now, Impaler was one of the most hyped parts of this album, since it was cowritten by Hammet back in the day (waaaaaayyyyyy back in the day). The song is strong, and you can tell it is old, since it doesn't really fit with the rest of the album. The album ends with the title track, which is another solid thrasher.

These five songs, if left alone, would have made a great album. Album of the year? No way. Top five? Definitely. Alas, we still have those other songs to look at, which is why this album only gets a 50%.

Starting with "Blacklist", the album takes a turn for the worse. I swear, they must have gotten AC/DC to write this song for them, as it sounds like it came straight off of an AC/DC album. This would be all fine and dandy if it wasn't on a fucking EXODUS ALBUM. The other four filler/suckage tracks seem to just waste space and go right over my head. I found myself thinking "why the fuck did they add this to the album?" over and over again.

One really, really good thing about the album, despite the inconsistency, is Zetro's voice. He really puts on a performance, matching the intensity of Baloff, while keeping his own intentity. Why the hell didn't he sing like this all along? Now I want him to go rerecord the vocals for Pleasures of the Flesh, which would make it 10x better. Anyways, think Baloff meets Chuck Billy and you pretty much got Zetro.

So all in all, did this album impress me? Yes. Did this album disappoint me? Definitely. This would probably be a good album to get someone into "extreme" metal, but those diehard fans who were expecting another Bonded By Blood will be left scratching their head. If you really want to hear the best of it, download the previously mentioned five fast-paced songs. Forget the rest.