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A Forward March Towards Blood - 91%

Stormbringa, August 27th, 2012

Holy shit. The album that got me into Exodus. I still consider this album to be on-par with Bonded By Blood. When you look at a band's discography, inevitably all their new releases will be compared with the past ones, which can sometimes be a blessing, or a curse for that album. Yes, Bonded By Blood is absolutely fucking menacing. But I still think that Gary Holt and co. have produced an excellent masterpiece in Tempo Of The Damned. Even the name of the album, and the album art are masterpieces. They fit Exodus so well.

This album does a similar thing for Exodus as South Of Heaven did for Slayer, and for that I'm really grateful. It showed that Exodus could be nasty, gritty, and pissed off without playing at their signature lightning speeds. This album does however, have outstanding faster moments, including the opening track, Scar Spangled Banner, as well as War Is My Shepherd, Forward March, and the closing and title track, Tempo Of The Damned. This album incorporates a nice diversity of speeds, while retaining the same general feel throughout the album. The groove is undeniable, with songs like Throwing Down and Shroud Of Urine scattered throughout the album.

Most of these songs utilize eerie or unconventional riffing in order to create these interesting grooves, and to some degree this is also incorporated into Holt's solos. I think it's fairly obvious that Gary Holt is willing to try new things, which I think a lot of younger metal bands could learn from and use to their advantage. There are some bands that release several albums of incredibly similar material, however Exodus is one of those bands that proves why their music was successful in the first place (which is the founders' ability and passion for innovation). The drums can present some interesting rhythms at times, however some fills I still find to this day to be a bit unnecessary on some songs. All-in-all though, Tom Hunting is an incredible drummer and for the most part comes up with beats that not only suit the music, but help it progress, where otherwise it would not.

This album also marks the return of an older Exodus song, written with Kirk Hammett, from the 80s. This song is called Impaler. And that's exactly what it will do to you when you listen to it. It will impale you. Hardcore. This is Zetro's last chance to showcase his voice on a truly punishing Exodus track, and boy does he make use of this. It's just something that you have to hear.

There are so many good riffs all through this album, it really just depends on your taste as to which you warm to the most. For more old-school fans, War Is My Shepherd will be a must, however new-school fans may like Throwing Down more, or people new to the metal scene might take an interest in the very catchy Blacklist.

Go out and get this album. If you're used to Pleasures Of The Flesh and Bonded By Blood, do yourself a favour and listen to this, to provide yourself with the ever-high-quality musicianship of Exodus, backed by a previously untapped musical vibe.