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Feast of violence - 71%

Felix 1666, April 29th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, Nuclear Blast (Limited edition, Digipak)

Do we really need to discuss whether musicians have the right to modify the style of their music? It is not forbidden by law and anything else is a matter of personal taste. There is only one small restriction. We, the fans, are the backbone of the scene and none of us started to listen to non-conform bands only to see how they get more and more commercial. Having said that, I do not see a reason to condemn Exodus for the songs on the here presented album. They do not exactly follow genuine thrash patterns, but they definitely cannot be blamed for sounding commercial. This does not mean that each and every track attracts my interest. The meaningless "As It Was, as It Soon Shall Be" is obviously written by Mr. No-Idea and Doc Superfluous and seems to be the late American answer to the terrible "The Nothing Song" (the name says it all) of Grinder, a German thrash battalion of the mid/late eighties. But some other tracks do not hesitate to crush your skull and they can rely on the extremely brutal production. This sound comes as no surprise, because Andy Sneap was responsible for the engineering and he is, from my point of view, the present grand master of thrash metal productions - together with Waldemar Sorychta, of course.

The violent mix emphasises the best moments of the songs. Its robotic precision, its cynical coldness and its contemptuous harshness offer the right surrounding for the bone-dry snare drum and the devastating belligerence of the guitars. The effective riffs of "Funeral Hymn", for instance, shine in full glory while benefitting from the brutal sound. Inter alia due to the ominous guitar work at its beginning and because of its interesting composition pattern, the song belongs to the brightest shining stars of the album. The following "Children of a Worthless God" is definitely no less exciting. Rob Dukes doesn't mince his words. "Follow us blindly or die like a dog / Blood mixed with sand for this holy war / Your savior' s a killer, you die for Allah / You are all children of a worthless God" - I really don't know whether the 72 virgins like this kind of lyrics, but Dukes seems to be of the opinion that subtle nuances are just irksome. Needless to say that he contributes to the infernal overall appearance in a prominent position. He has decided to play the part of the unfriendly asshole and he does it very convincingly. Honestly speaking, I am not surprised that he fully identifies with this role.

Leaving these great pieces out of account, I am sorry to inform you that the remaining tracks cannot cause the same impact. The title track, for example, is a good song, but why was it necessary to design it with a length of more than ten minutes? Apart from its excessive configuration, it provides triumphant riffing after 7:40 minutes. The guitar emerges from the brutal chaos and scores with sharp and dynamic catchiness. A brilliant part, but unfortunately embedded in a less excellent song. "The Garden of Bleeding" also cannot claim a top position in the ranking of the band's elaborations. It comes as the epitome of sonic gruffness, no more, no less. Anyway, it makes no sense to browse through each and every song. I have already mentioned the nadir of the album in the first and its highlights in the second paragraph. All other tracks have their moments while lacking from excessiveness or suffering from a mild form of compositional inability. The band is not able to exploit its strengths in a completely convincing manner. No doubt, their debut will remain unrivalled eternally, but the here presented exhibition with its fairly modern grasp of thrash shows a slightly worrying performance level.

Rust and blood. - 55%

Diamhea, February 7th, 2014

This is superior to it's companion piece Exhibit B: The Human Condition for a number of reasons. Without question, The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A's riffs have more of a fire lit under their collective ass, driving many of these tracks forward with a grotesque, stomping persona that grooves nearly as much as it thrashes. Holt and Altus deliver their discharges of landscape-razing distortion via a chunky, modern tone that features eardrum-rupturing ardor as it snatches the reins away from Gibson's vehement bass, which was the standout on the previous release.

The album still reeks of the blowhard, protracted songwriting style that has dogged most modern Exodus releases. It isn't quite as melodramatic and overlong as it's direct successor, but The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A could still stand to lose some of it's excess baggage. The pointless twelve minutes of silence that conclude "Bedlam 1-2-3" reeks of an attempt at injecting subtle humor into an otherwise dead serious collection of songs. Dukes delivers his paranoid rants via his usual coarse bark, but his approach is slightly more varied than on Shovel Headed Kill Machine and Exhibit B: The Human Condition for some reason. There are sporadic clean vocal passages during "Children of a Worthless God", which shows that he is at least trying to shuffle his vocal cards a bit. Regardless, the anti-war, anti-Muslim blabbering present here is extremely dated, even by the time of this album's release.

Exodus made an earnest effort at rebranding themselves as a serious modern thrash act after years of doing The Toxic Waltz, but few were sold on the idea without a Baloff or Souza delivering the lyrical venom required to pull off such a coup. The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A hasn't forsaken the almighty melody in an effort to make the scene, so there are still some catchy scorchers like "Funeral Hymn" and "Riot Act", both of which are standouts due to their focused delivery and killer instinct. Others like the overlong quasi-title track "The Atrocity Exhibition" almost seem to make a concerted effort at sounding as dissonant and mechanical as possible, ultimately going in one ear and out the other. Hunting holds a lot of the more meandering songs together, acrobatically bobbing and weaving through a number of thrash beats and faster, more modern percussive styles. To compare this material to Exodus' close East Coast brother Overkill, many of these songs wouldn't sound too out of place on Bloodletting or perhaps ReliXIV, both of which are still far superior at the end of the day due to a timeless frontman in Ellsworth.

This is where The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A finds itself fatally flawed, as Dukes is just not capable of spitting the torrents of syllables required to evoke the off-the-wall atmosphere so critical to the thrash formula. His gruff snarls aren't terribly offensive on their own, but I find his lyrics way more counterproductive towards Exodus' attempts at earning serious modern credibility. The band's inactivity throughout most of the '90s would seem to be an advantage toward avoiding much of that decade's "baggage" that brought down other popular acts like Anthrax, but Exodus almost seem to be going through the throes of their experimental phase a decade later than they should have.

The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A is far superior to it's direct successor and stylistic twin, so it at least has that to hang it's hat on. The album is undoubtedly frontloaded, with nearly all of the better cuts present during the first half. Ignore the protracted bores that pockmark the second half of the album and you might find something of value in it's haughty confines. Not a complete waste.

Uh Oh, Now They're Super Cereal - 52%

DawnoftheShred, March 26th, 2011

I am of the persuasion that the unholy Exodus have never failed to produce a good studio album; even filler laden Force of Habit and modernized Shovel-Headed Kill Machine had more than enough merits to earn their badge of quality. However with The Atrocity Exhibition, Exodus break precedent by producing something that can’t really be called a good album. But to be fair, they’ve also produced something that can’t really be called an Exodus album. Yeah, I know what it says on the cover, but I also know what it sounds like, and Exodus it surely isn’t. Instead, you get the feeling that Gary Holt has long been bitter about playing second fiddle to his more revered colleagues over in Anthrax and Metallica and, with a mostly new lineup in tow for his aging thrash project, has finally decided to take a serious stab at the limelight. Holt promised a modern masterpiece; what he’s delivered is essentially a rebranding of Exodus as a modern metal act.

And what, dear friends, is more celebrated in the modern metal world (in the mainstream, not the underground) than the world-(in)famous Gothenburg sound and its close cousin metalcore? Not that this is a total conversion or anything; in fact, on a superficial level it is very much what one could expect a new Exodus album to sound like. The guitars, despite being tuned lower than one would prefer, have the same murderous crunch that pretty much every Exodus album has managed to provide and at least a few of the riffs (see: the early guitar break in “Funeral Hymn” and the unmistakable one in the middle of “Iconoclasm”) are indigenous to Holt’s usual sonic landscape. There’s also a veritable slathering of guitar solos worthy of the names Holt and Altus; again, as should be expected. But in general, the style of riffing is quite different from Holt’s thrashtastic forte, emphasizing chunky dissonant chords and disparate sludge over his signature no-nonsense battery. Some of the melodic aspects are completely foreign: I challenge you to play the intro bit “A Call to Arms” to an unexposed Exodus fan and have them correctly guess what it is they’re listening to. I hear more elements of Soilwork, Lamb of God, Trivium, or The Haunted in this than anything else, and though that’s not necessarily a bad thing if you dig any of said artists, it’s a bit discouraging if you, like me, were expecting it to sound like Exodus. The logical followup to Shovel-Headed Kill Machine? This strays from that path, assuredly.

The worst departure, however, is the general attitude of the record. Since Rob Dukes’ arrival as Exodus’ lead verbal propagandist, it is quite clear that Holt has used him as a catalyst to mold the band after Dukes’ harsher, more ‘extreme’ if you will, vocal approach. As such, the band has taken upon itself a darker atmosphere, begging to be taken seriously after comical mishaps (though I certainly wouldn’t call all of them mishaps) of the past decade such as “The Toxic Waltz” or their rather silly cover songs. The result, naturally, is on par with other ‘modern’ metal lyrical standards and an atrocious drop in entertainment from the riotous lyrical insights of Tempo of the Damned. Here, Holt and Dukes achieve a result somewhere in between modern Slayer and modern Megadeth. Religion = bad. Politicians = bad. Yeah, message received. It’s the same old song and dance thrash and plenty of heavy metal in general has been advocating for decades, in brutally detailed but redundant fashion. No one needs to hear another anti-Iraq war song, and despite a gutsy (but resoundingly intolerant) stab at Islam (“Children of a Worthless God,” a title that’s weakly adapted from a much better song by a much better band), not a single lyrical passage proves to be original or enjoyable. And if lyrical ‘maturity’ wasn’t the ultimate proof of their newfound super seriousness, they’ve even scrapped the ol’ Exodus gang vocals. A blasphemous work indeed, oh Atrocity Exhibition!

But honesty always prevails in this reviewer’s work, and with that, I must admit that the musical presentation isn’t as unpleasant as the band’s lack of spirit might imply. The overall sound is extremely heavy (as modern productions go) and there’s a surprising amount of fast passages, if not explicitly thrashy ones. The return of Tom Hunting is welcome and bassist Jack Gibson actually gets a good slice in the mix. And remarkably, for the album’s extremely lengthy song format (four songs hovering around the eight minute mark and one cresting the ten), it’s not nearly as much of a drag as it could have been, save some lengthy mid-paced plodding (one of the few Exodus traditions honored here, and a most unfortunate one at that). And Rob Dukes really isn’t the worst guy out there. On the Derrick Green Scale of Shitty Replacement Vocalists, Dukes only measures approximately 0.5 Derrick Greens (where a measurement of 1.0 Derrick Greens is equal to being Derrick Green (the horror!) and a measurement of less than 0.05 is very unlike Derrick Green, the ideal). His clean singing is painful, but that’s limited to “Children of a Worthless God” and his generic hardcore shout/rasp is at the very least enthusiastic. And again, the solos are worthy and the overall songs are listenable, if not particularly entertaining (save “Riot Act,” if you and your friends are in the mood for a good old-fashioned game of Find the Downbeat). "Iconoclasm" might be considered a highlight.

I guess in the end, it’s not so much that it’s an awful Exodus album as it’s an awfully different Exodus album. You know, the kind that divides an older fanbase against a younger one or a seasoned, change-fearing thrasher-type against a more open-minded fan willing to let an old band try out a new sound. In comparison to the bands I’ve mentioned above (that shamelessly suck on the cock of the generic melo-death sound), The Atrocity Exhibition slays and could very well be up your alley, oh purveyor of the new-school. But it’s not for me, and if you revere the Exodus that once was, it probably isn’t for you either.

Give it a Shot, I Almost Didn't... - 75%

InfinityX, April 19th, 2010

Well I've read a lot of bad press for this album and I just don't understand why. Now I'm got going to trash people who don't like what I like, that’s just not how I roll as a Burzum fan I read a lot of bad press for music I like, anyway I have to make sure both sides of the story are being heard.

So, here I go. Exodus is a band that has been plagued by lineup changes and I nearly skipped them for it. I listened to BbB and I loved it, since I knew Baloff (R.I.P.) was only on that album, I figured if I listened to later albums, I would go Paul was better so I'm not going to listen to this, as I'm sure many of you have done if not with Exodus then others. Long story short I eventually got used to all of the Exodus vocalists, and they each have there own strengths.

As for Rob Dukes I was taken aback by his style, but now I love his voice. He may be even better than Baloff, at least in some ways. It sounds like a little metalcore (bleh) mixed with a later Chuck Schuldiner (YAY!) which gives him a nice mix of clarity and harshness. If you feel like Rob Dukes is the doom of Exodus hang in there, it takes some getting used to but it is worth it when you get used to it.

Now, the album as a whole is way different than past Exodus albums, chiefly because the lyrics aren't as joking and the atmosphere is a lot darker. That doesn't mean that Holt and the gang aren't bringing the scathing political lyrics with the lines about violence. It's in there:

Bedlam 1-2-3:
"On my command
everybody run amuck
slam into everyone
never to stop to give a fuck"

Riot Act:
"Smash everything,
wreck it all with pride
The Power of our revolution
won't ever be denied."

I could go on. The lyrics still have that Exodus 'I don't give a shit' flavor, but are overall more intelligently written, in part to Rob Dukes, ever-bringing in some new things to the band, including that badass beard.

You may be thinking 'Rob Dukes? Exodus is about Gary Holt!' Well fret not, Gary Holt is still the man and brings the true thrash to this brilliant album. The riffs are generally fairly simple and are generally slower than past Exodus albums, but they have that great mix of thrashing brutality and groove that we come to expect. And if you are a fiend for speed, the solos are still face-melters, and some songs are still break-neck paced like my personal favorite, Children of a Worthless God. The song is just flawless, the sweet riffs with the double bass intro, the anti-religious fanaticism lyrics by Rob Dukes, the dueling solos by Holt and Lee. It is an amazing song.

The bass isn't as audible as I'd like it, but it is better than most albums. As a bass player I get angry when I can't hear any bass, but it is more present on this album than most Exodus albums even. And the drums are awesome, and so unique for a thrash album. A fine mixture of speed and technicality, not just your essential put-put-tuh-put-put-tuh. Really most of the material is not very typical for a thrash album, but that is probably why I love it so much.

Part of the reason I understand why many people don't like this album is because it is a hard album to dig into because it is very different, like Prometheus by Emperor. But you can't just give these albums a casual listen you have to dig into it. Put on the damn headphones and listen to it! Trust me that if you give it a shot, and then another shot, and perhaps another after that, you will like this album. To ease yourself into it perhaps you could start with just Children... that song just clicks. Give it a shot, I almost didn't.

For being different in a genre of conformity, Exodus's The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A gets a 75, or a 3 out of five

Exodus/The Atrocity Exhibition...Exhibit A - 70%

MethylinInfo, December 19th, 2008

Well, it took me some time to get used to this album and instead of concluding that it was completely a waste of a release. I came to the conclusion that it wasn't utter crap. The music combined with the lyrics seemed to have somehow fit into place more so than just listening to the music itself. Their topics didn't really grab my attention it was like I said the music meshed well with the lyrics. Some songs started out sounding good and catchy then again it seems as though the entire album now has a lot of key moments. It seems like you can only catch this release if you listen to the songs and lyrics at the same time. Otherwise you'll come to my first conclusion which was that it was completely worthless.

Long time member Gary Holt was on rhythm and lead guitars as well as Lee Altus. They made some leads that weren't that noteworthy though it wasn't a complete waste. I just thought that they should've put more time into the riffs so that you cannot only differentiate whose lead is whose but to also admire the talent that was exhibited here. I couldn't get myself into those leads really not that they were bad but they just needed to be a better mix between the two lead guitarists. Rob Dukes does a decent job on vocals spewing forth Gary Holt's spiteful lyrics. Not only does he have yelling and screaming but also has some clean vox on one song. He replaced Steve "Zetro" Souza who left the band in 2004 and Paul Baloff who passed away in 2002 from a stroke that he endured. The lyrics are actually well put together. The band sings about the death, anti-Christianity, violence, war, etc.

The guitars are tuned down some plus they didn't give up their thrash roots I don't think on any of their past releases (though I've only heard a little of their previous works). They didn't sell out changing their style of music just to sell records like Metallica did (as an example). Definitely some key moments can be heard here. Though I think that some of their tempos and rhythms didn't really grasp me. The reason is because some of the music didn't seem to fit. Yes a little bit of clean tone guitar work but not much at all really. So their variety within each song was decent but what wasn't decent was that some songs seemed to drag along going nowhere. Some of the solo guitar work was a little bit too much. Both Gary and Lee did a good job on the leads but they weren't completely astonishing. I've only heard this album and "Impact Is Imminent" so I can't dive into their complete discography to really compare older or now newer releases. In conclusion, I think that overall this release goes back into what I started out saying: it wasn't utter crap though not the best thrash release that I've heard.

Too pretentious for its own good, but not bad - 72%

Agonymph, April 27th, 2008

Exodus has once again succeeded in releasing an album which is quite controversial. Yet, this time it's not the cover art or the lyrics which have provoked people, it's the actual songs. 'The Atrocity Exhibition - Exhibit A' contains heavy, mostly lengthy modern Thrash songs and either the length of the songs, how modern they are or both has insulted many longtime fans. Many people claim that the band on this album just isn't Exodus anymore and although there is some truth in that statement, I think we have to keep in mind that Exodus will always be a reflection of Gary Holt's feelings and influences, rather than a band that will desperately stick to the niche they carved for themselves in the eighties.

With that in mind, Gary Holt must have been heavily influenced by Machine Head's most recent offering; long songs with many changes, guitar solos and a long time to build up. But while I considered 'The Blackening' from Machine Head one of 2007's greatest albums, 'The Atrocity Exhibition' is pretty much a hit-and-miss affair. While the long songs on 'The Blackening' mostly make sense to me, those on 'The Atrocity Exhibition' sometimes have the tendency to drag on too long. Something which actually occurred to me when I saw the band live recently. A song like 'Funeral Hymn' is just long enough on the album, it's actually a good song, but when hearing it live, it bored the hell out of me and I even hurt my jaws sighing. I don't know why.

That doesn't mean all the songs on here are utter crap. 'Children Of A Worthless God' can easily be measured with the better Exodus-epics. It wasn't much of a surprise to me that Lee Altus co-wrote this song. The guitarist who also plays in Heathen is easily the best songwriter in the Bay Area scene, as previously portrayed on Heathen's brilliant albums. There are some great riffs, melodies and solos in this song. Rob Dukes even does a great, Zetro-ish, clean vocal line in the chorus. Damn, I miss Zetro. The point with this song is: even though it's eight and a half minutes, it feels like a lot less than - for instance - the three and a half from opening track 'Riot Act', probably the worst opening track Exodus has done so far.

Also great is the longest track of the album. 'The Atrocity Exhibition' is over ten minutes, but succeeds in remaining interesting all throughout the length of the song. The song features Gary Holt experimenting with dissonant chords and he does so quite successfully if you ask me. It's a relentless modern Thrash song which shows why we should be happy that Tom Hunting has returned to the band. I have nothing against Paul Bostaph, who did a sufficient job on 'Shovel Headed Kill Machine', but Exodus just needs Tom Hunting's drumming. And he is in optima forma in the title track. A lot of shifts and changes in the song, each being more vicious and merciless than the previous. And while Lee Altus mainly does the better solos on this album, Gary Holt's solo on this track is pure gold. It has a somewhat bluesy feel, which goes really well with the Sabbath-ish riff backing it. Lee's solo of course kicks ass too, but the riff backing it is the real neck-snapper here. I guess the difference between this song and the other long songs on this album, is that the changes in this one are a lot less predictable than the ones in, let's say, the horribly mind-numbing 'Iconoclasm'.

Apart from these two killer tracks, the album is an extreme case of hanging in the balance. There's a lot of that downtuned, 21st century Thrash, like 'As It Was, As It Soon Shall Be', which is a failed attempt to copy 'Blacklist' off of 'Tempo Of The Damned' to me. 'The Garden Of Bleeding' is incredibly uninspired as well. On the other hand, 'Bedlam 1-2-3' is an awesome closer. Especially that slow, creeping intro is amazing, but when the song speeds up (big-time!) it kills everything around you. And you might be pleasantly surprised by the hidden bonus track. I'm not going to ruin that secret for you.

It's not all crap, there are actually moments when you still can hear that Gary Holt was once the king of Thrash riffs, but overall, this album is a bit too pretentious for it's own good. It's definitely the worst thing Exodus has done since 'Force Of Habit', but some of the ratings this album has been given suggest that it's a piece of shit written and played by untalented musicians and that is of course not true. There are great songs on this album, but if Gary Holt wants to continue following this path, I suggest he puts on 'The Blackening' once more and tries to figure out what was REALLY the secret that made that album so interesting.

Oh and by the way, Gary, I know you probably don't want to, but: GET...ZETRO...BACK!

Atrociously under-rated! - 85%

VoiceofHell, January 18th, 2008

I think this album, while being far from the best album to ever come from the minds of Gary Holt and Co., is still a solid modern thrash effort and is truly keeping the Exodus name alive in this, the new era of Thrash Metal.

The album in question is very much a mixture of the sounds found on the previous 2 efforts. It takes the overall aural chaos of “Shovel Headed Killing Machine” and also parts of the refined energy from “Tempo Of The Damned”

To start with, the production is bloody brilliant. Every guitar and bass note just sears holes through your head while the drums (courtesy of returning Exodus basher Tom Hunting) blow away what's left of your brain. Really truly great production values by one Andy Sneap (ex - Sabbat).

The Lyrical content of the album is also spot on, exactly what one would expect in Thrash lyrics. Addressing issues of war, violence, the hypocrisy of religion, etc. “Children of a Worthless God” especially stands-out in this respect, becoming a searing attack on Islamic Extremists, being the first (?) Thrash song to specifically address the current political, military, and socio-religious climate in the middle east in the 21st century.

I'm really starting to hone in to Rob Duke’s vocal delivery. He has a very unique screech that is at once maddening and pleasant. It fits the songs very well and he has obviously matured a lot as a vocalist since "Shovel Headed Killing Machine" and I know long find his technique to be at times annoying.

The only qualm I really have about the album is the length of some of the songs. To me, thrash metal is supposed to be rough, fast, heavy, and somewhat brief. There are only a few Thrash songs that exceed 6 minutes that I really love. All in all though, there is only a couple long players on the album that bore me because of length.

All in all it's a very solid, if not spectacular, release from the Bay Area legends. I eagerly await the next release.

Stand-out Tracks:
-Call To Arms/Riot Act
-Children Of A Worthless God
-Iconoclasm
-Garden Of The Bleeding

Most underrated album ever - 79%

Keloid, December 15th, 2007

I was reading the reviews for "The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A," and man, was I surprised. Quite a lot of people hate this album. I don't know why, I found this quite entertaining. That being said, this is the only Exodus album I have. But still, It has its good points, and one or two not-so-good points.

Let's start with the good. "Riot Act," the first actual song on this album, begins with a good intro riff. The lyrics just add to the package. They remind me of how I feel when I'm particularly pissed off. "Smash and destroy everything in my path," reflects exactly how I feel when I'm insanely bored. The drums are fast and furious. The solos are faster than earlier Megadeth's solos. After "Riot Act," we have "Funeral Hymn," which starts off with a lightning fast solo. The riffs are amazing. The drums are still fast, even faster than the previous song. The lyrics are still pretty good. "Children of a Worthless God," now there's a song worth noting. Starting off with an epic-sounding riff and solo, it only gets faster and better. The bass is well played, as are the drums. The lyrics really make you wonder about religion. Overall, the good points are the lyrics, drums, and guitars.

The bad point? The bass is barely audible. That's the only flaw I could decern on this album.

Get this album as soon as you can, but if you have Exodus' older stuff, get "The Atrocity Exhibition..." as soon as possible.

Reccomended songs: Any and all on this disc!

Redifining the term "hit and miss" - 62%

The_Boss, December 9th, 2007

Most metalheads know the thrash band Exodus and all thrashers know the band Exodus, for being a legendary monster of a band that struck the scene ages ago thrashing their way to the top. Killing posers and non-believers with their music Exodus became a legend. Well, now many years later, Exodus has released their eight full length album and I could not say I haven't been this disappointed this year more excluding Elvenking. The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A is a new age thrash album that is full of hit and miss songs either falling into completely lifeless, mildly interesting or "Sweet! This is actually good!". Mostly following the old trend that Tempo of the Damned and Shovel Headed Killing Machine went through (which I both enjoyed, the latter the most) with a slickened production full of almost groovy riffs but still thrashing somewhat hard.

The songs here are divided into 3 sections for me: the worthless, the semi interesting, and the 'wish-this-was-how-the-whole-album-sounded'. Again, referring to the title, this is a complete hit and miss album, and unfortunately I think the misses outweigh the hits, or at least there are more of them. The hits though, I really enjoy and wish it was how the entire album sounded like because there are several really headbangable moments that make me yell "hell yeah!". But the misses are usually derived from fairly boring riffs, shitty lyrics, and unnecessarily long song lengths, which all typically outweigh a lot of the goods. Some songs (title track and Funeral Hymn) are 10 and 8 minutes long but while there are some complete kickass moments (the solos) they could have easily been cut down in length. Some riffs are typical of what a lot of new age thrash sounds like (new Overkill) but there are several which I can really enjoy like the opening of Funeral Hymn and the whole song of Iconoclasm.

I'd also like to mention that the musicianship here is a complete bonus as always with Exodus. Gary Holt and Tom Hunting shine as usual, the solos are splendid and an absolute delight to the ears when they pop up; very worthy of headbanging. Tom Hunting does an excellent job on drums good to seem him back as well, banging his kit to oblivion sometimes (opening of Iconoclasm). Some prominent bass lines show themselves occasionally too which are always a delight in thrash metal. Rob Dukes is kinda sorta a decent vocalist, halfway between barking and spitting the words out which by the way suck. I really think the lyrics here are worthless, yelling on about anti-war crap or how Christians suck or some other crap, very politically based which I never found to be interesting or at least how this is done.

So while this album isn't complete horseshit I find myself being bored slightly more than I am entertained. The songs being too long don't add to this as well as the seemingly uninspired riffing at times. But still, definitely a hit and miss album that makes me wonder why the album couldn't just be like the hits in this album. The misses are extreme and the hits are entertaining but in the long run this album could have been better but instead seems slightly half assed. It's a shame, I wish Exodus could have pulled off at least another Shovel Headed Killing Machine but I guess not, maybe Exhibit B will be better...

Well, it's not a total atrocity.... - 58%

IWP, December 8th, 2007

But, it's pretty damn close to being one. I was certainly wrong about this album. I was too easy on it first time I reviewed it. I digged this album the first two or three times I listened to it, now it really leaves a bitter taste in my ears every time I listen to it. It's not entirely a bad release, but it's far from good either. For the most part, this is a mediocre release from an aging thrash band.

I have three huge problems with this album. First, that guitar tone. Even though it may sound "heavy" to some, it has to be one of the most boring and worst guitar tones I've ever heard. It sounds very sludgy, so sludgy infact, that you can hardly hear any of the riffs. For the most part, all you hear is a bunch of chugging throughout the whole album. Next, is Rob Dukes. I do not care for this guy at all. He sounds like a Paul Baloff wannabe just without the attitude that Baloff had, and half of the time, his screams can sound pretty "coreish" which tend to get on my nerves. Oh, and the clean singing he does on Children of a Worthless God sounds even worse. The last problem I have is that the majority of the songs are too long. If some of the songs were a bit shorter, perhaps I would've given this album a few more points, but when you have generic chugging "thrash" songs that clock up to 10 minutes, it tends to bore the hell out of you.

About the only songs that hold their own here are Riot Act and Bedlam 123. Both are solid modern sounding thrashers, and the latter track has to be the better of the two. It's fast and heavy, the way thrash should be.

That, unfortenately, is about as good as this album gets. The rest of these songs range from mediocre to so painfully boring that it hurts just to listen to these atrocities. These songs are long and the "riffs" are generic are boring. For the most part this is just sped up groove metal with shitty vocals. The only reaosn these songs qualify as thrash at all is because the drumming at least stays fast and consistent. The title track, inpaticular, has to be the worst out of the bunch. The song is 10 minutes worth of boring chuga chuga riffs and half-assed screaming which qualifies as vocals. I'd rather listen to Pantera than listen to this shit again, nuff said. Funeral Hymn is pretty decent with some alright riffs yet also suffers form being way too long ofr it's own good.

For the most part, this album is mediocre and pretty forgetable. Damn, and I thought this band could do no wrong too. The three releases that came before this one (Force of Habit, Tempo of the Damned, and Shovel Headed Killing Machine) were all good albums, and the albums before those were obvious classics, but this album does not match the standards that this band has. What a fucking disappointment! Download Riot Act and Bedlam 123, and avoid the rest of this album! You'll thank yourself later.

blah! - 45%

gk, November 23rd, 2007

Exodus are back with a new album. That is usually cause to rejoice but seeing as how this was the follow up to Shovel Headed Kill Machine I was more than a little worried. Initial news of clean vocals and jumpy riffs simply added to the tension. When i finally got my hands on this album though, most of my initial fears were dismissed. There's little evidence of any core elements and the clean vocals comprise of 2 lines used as a chorus in one song.

The album starts with a rather pointless intro before kicking things off with Riot Act. The song immediately brings to mind the material on Tempo Of The Damned and things get off to a proper Exodus start. The riffs are jagged and heavy and there's a vintage lead guitar part in the middle of the song. The next thing that struck me was that Rob Dukes sounds a lot more like Souza on this album. It's quite a change as the vocalist has dropped most of his barking style. After this promising start though, the album is a bit hit and miss. The lengthy Funeral Hymn starts with a pretty generic riff that goes nowhere before the song picks up any momentum, while the equally lengthy Children Of A Worthless God sounds good in a God Forbid meets Iced Earth kind of way for the first six minutes before going off into some pointless samples. The songs are mostly pretty fucking long and don't hold your attention all the way through. This is particularly true of the title song, a ten minute epic that just fizzles out halfway through. Iconoclasm is another boring song with some more boring generic riffing that seems to go on and on. The Garden Of Bleeding manages to lift its head above the mundane surroundings with is slow brooding start before exploding into some thrash metal goodness and album closer Bedlam 123 is full of some really aggressive riffs but it's a case of too little too late.

Jack Gibson benefits a bit on this album with a terrific bass guitar tone and I don't think the bass has ever been this clear on an Exodus album. His playing on the title song is worth a listen and the only redeeming factor on it. Hunting, who returns to the band with this album sounds strangely subdued here and I guess the same is true of the band. The intensity of old and the threat of violence is missing on this album just like it was missing on the last one. While Andy Sneap did a terrific job on Tempo Of The Damned , here the production is very clean. The rough around the edges sound of classic Exodus has been replaced by a super clean sound that just sucks some of the life out of The Atrocity Exhibition (A).

While this isn't a bad album and there are some good songs here it just doesn't sound too much like Exodus. The Atrocity Exhibition Exhibit A sounds like it was written by some new band that wants to sound just like Exodus did on Tempo Of The Damned.

www.kvltsite.com

Baloff Turning In His Grave - 25%

Human666, November 12th, 2007

This isn't thrash the way it meant to be. This isn't an album that 'Exodus' had to release. Geez, this isn't an album that had to be released at all!

Come on! This is one of the most pointless albums I've heard in a long time.
9 songs clocking at almost 60 minutes...not even single minute which sounds more than "boring generic riffage which goes through the motions and has a strange vibe of mallcore". 'Riot Act' has a very bad wanky riffing which sounds like a tetris music with distortion, the lead guitar utterly blows and sounds extremely offhand, same goes with the embarrassing chorus.

Both 'Funeral Hymn' and 'Children Of A Worthless God' are absolute exaggeration! You just can't masturbate repetitive riffing for 8 minutes and sound bearable at the same time...it's impossible.

Instead of tell you how each song is suck I will sum it up: forget from the 'Exodus' you knew, this album is just another modern death/thrash mediocrity, nothing you should really care for.

'The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A' wins the award of the biggest disappointment of 2007. Let's just expect that the second part won't be worse than this, if possible.

And if you thought 'Shovel' was their worst… - 10%

morbert, November 2nd, 2007

With releasing this piece of boredom called ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ Exodus certainly did their best to make their earlier 2005 album Shovel Headed Kill Machine sound like real thrash metal. Whereas on Shovel it was the horrid computerized production and the metalcore vocals of Rob Dukes that ruined the possibility of it being a fairly decent thrash metal album, this time they also got rid off real riffs and up tempo songs leaving us with nothing but 59 minutes of… sound.

With their decent comeback album ‘Tempo Of The Damned’ the band were still recognisably Exodus albeit with a modern production and a higher amount of mid paced material. But in 2007 there is nothing left reminding us of what Exodus once was, a raging thrash metal band with superb riffs and cool characteristic vocals. With ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ Exodus have released something that can be compared to Testament’s ‘Demonic’ or Slayer’s ‘Diabolus In Musica’ being an album that should have been released under a different name with a different audience in mind.

Progression can be a good thing, but throwing everything away that made you famous in the first place can be considered stupidity. Would this have been a brand new band, I would have given the album about 40 or 50 points, for there are some nice moments but never good nor great. Knowing this is the band that once released Fabulous Disaster and Bonded By Blood, we the fans can do nothing else but cry, accept our loss and leave the cemetery. Exodus has passed away. Probably to be summoned from the dead (again) in a few years with Hunolt and Souza.

E-X-O-D-U-S; the new way to spell atrocious - 10%

zeingard, October 25th, 2007

Armed with the razor sharp wit of Oscar Wilde, I can't help but say; this album is an apt exhibition of how atrocious metal can be. I can sympathise with these 80's thrash bands, to them groove metal is just as alluring as the forbidden fruit was to the mythical cocktease Eve, and rightly so I suppose. Groove metal requires no talent and your average metalhead thinks it's good because it's so heavy and brutal. Unfortunately Exodus do not get the benefit of the doubt, with 'Tempo of the Damned' they managed to prove it was possible to make a mostly decent thrash/groove album in the vein of Pantera's 'Cowboys from Hell', of course they cocked that up right away when they release 'Shovel Headed Kill Machine' and they've continued on the downward spiral to mediocrity with this next installment which apparently has a guaranteed follow-up album. How grim, if by extrapolation the next album follows the trend of suckitude then I shan't sleep for a good week thanks to caffeine laced paranoia at the thought of trudging through an album similar to or even worse than this one.

The alarm bells ring loud and clear as soon as you look over the track list; the songs are really fucking long, now let it be known that I'm no adverse to long song but when all you can write is a couple of shitty groove riffs to stretch over 5 - 10 minutes you're starting to test my patience and cause me to question my thoughts on just how masochistic I really am. Take the title track "The Atrocity Exhibition", barely 1/3rd of the way through the song and we've only heard two different riffs; two plodding and utterly lamentable groove riffs for about 3 and half minutes. The following solo is also lacking in the balls department but that's to be expected I suppose, if you're too lazy to even write a few thrash riffs then why bother with writing blazingly awesome solos right? Admittedly the second solo in the song is a lot better but it's questionable as to whether it's worth slogging through 7 minutes of poorly written groove metal to hear one good solo when I could go put 'Rust in Peace' or 'Painkiller' on instead. Not even the shortest (disregarding the introduction track) song on this album "Riot Act" is decent. Usually you get at least one thrash song out of these dried-up husks of former glory but it appears they can't even recall how to thrash the fuck out. It has some speed at least and the solos are okay at best but otherwise it's just a shorter and somewhat faster version of the other songs on the album, its entire existence seems to be based around being released as single for this album.

I think the biggest offender in this album is the general lack of originality, take for instance the trade-off solo section in the middle of "Bedlam 123"; your first impression is outright fucking joy because they're finally doing something worthwhile but once you get your shit sorted you realise the solos themselves are fairly lackluster and fail to be individualistic or inventive in any sense of the word. Also Rob Dukes counting down "1 2 3" in the choruses of this song is grating and rather, dare I use the term, mallcore-ish. I don't dislike him as a vocalist, he seems to mesh well with the shitty groove riffs and it makes the lyrics unintelligible which is probably in their best interests since they sound like they came from the desk of an introverted and fanatically atheist 15 year old know-it-all with nothing better to do than wank furiously over La Blue Girl episodes and post on shitty internet forums with a fervor only matched by devianTART fandom 'artists'.

That's the entirety of this album; shitty groove riff after shitty groove riff, uninspiring solo or two, really long fucking songs, decent drumming, mediocre if not outright irritating vocals and the occasional appearance from the once believed to be complete mythical creature known in our human tongue as a 'bassist'. Thought 'Shovel Headed Kill Machine' was good? Think Lamb of God are like the best new metal band ever and are totally brutal? Suffer from symptoms akin to severe brain damage and pop Ritalin like they were skittles? Then this album is right up your alley, not unlike how a part of myself is right up your mother's alley. Frequently.

Worthless - 13%

Visionary, October 24th, 2007

"there will never have been anything as brutal and genre defining done before in thrash metal. An epic monster this one is, and the next is going to take it even further."

This is a quote taken from Exodus from their announcement of this album. This sure is a bold statement. The question is did Exodus live up to this? The answer is absolutely not. I could go on and on about more brutal or epic or genre defining albums. The Atrocity Exhibition is nothing of the sort in anyway. This is just another lifeless groove album.

The first thing that strikes me when listening is just how obnoxious the riffs really are. The riffs are very simple utilizing very few chords and are not at all choppy but just complete groove and worst of all is that Exodus are very repetitive with these riffs and most of the tracks last for a long time. Occasionally Exodus will attempt a thrash riff but they are just to stop/start to work and end up giving me a headache. If you want a thrash riff to work in this case you have to link the chords quicker. The solos are also pretty useless. They seem to mostly be used just for the sake of it and there is no structure in the songs that seems to make them fit. They are neither fast nor technical except on the rare occasion and that is definitely not a good thing as it just makes them sound lifeless and boring.

The drumming was the only thing I enjoyed when listening to Shovel Headed Kill Machine. Here I didn't even notice the drums unless I forced myself to listen to them. And then I just heard an occasional bang on the drums; no fills, no variation. It could almost have been a poorly programmed drum machine.

Now Rob Dukes makes a very slight improvement here from his performance on Shovel Headed Kill Machine but that really isn't saying too much. His voice is still largely in metalcore territory and sounds very dry, and monotonous. Occasionally he goes a little bit deeper but this is only by a small amount but is still largely welcomed as it is an improvement but this is not enough to save the vocal performance here. Worst of all clean background singing is used that further solidifies the band's connections with metalcore. The fact that I am reminded greatly of all those formulaic metalcore bands such as trivium with their back and forth between annoying shouts and clean singing is certainly not a good thing.

There is virtually nothing that can save this album, not even the production which is actually quite good as it sounded a little muddy and highlighted the appropriate parts but if these parts are useless to begin with then it doesn't really matter.

Overall I am glad that I didn't even waste my time downloading this album but rather just listened to it's entirety from Exodus' Myspace page. I hope the band continues to do this so more people like me can realize how bad they sound and are put off from wasting their money. If you want real thrash from 2007 then check out releases by Lich King, Ultimatum, Dekapitator and Chaosphere. Don't waste your time or energy on this.

Not that atrocious - 70%

metalewd, October 23rd, 2007

I've been detecting a slight backlash , a bubbling of negativity around this LP at the moment, that I can't really work out. I mean, what the fuck do some people want? Here we have a band, basically spent as a creative entity not 2 LPs ago, filled with ex-junkies, their spiritual karmic force of a vocalist tragically expires, their day job singer finally admits his heart isn't in it after about 10 years and walks, and what do they do? Quit? No they don't. They pull their heads in, get bum down arse up for while, get a raging new vocalist, and GET BETTER. No they don't recapture the glory days, but they GET BETTER. They shrug off the prevailing metal zeitgeists and release a fairly damn stonking LP with the new singer, and then GET AMBITIOUS. They announce 2 back to back LPs (thematic even?) and they start to get shitcanned for it. I still can't work out why, but I'll get back to you if I do.

"Atrocity" is ok, it really is. The only LP I have tried to compare it to is "Shovel", because to my mind, pre-"Shovel" is a different band. What the band have definitely recaptured over these last 2 LPs is their thrash mojo. The aggro is back in a big way as we all know, and certainly a focus on trying to get the riffs up to par. I've got a little bad news there, because I don't think the riffs on "Atrocity" are quite as good as those on "Shovel". But you may beg to differ. The songs are goodish. Nothing as really as instant as "Deathamphetamine" or "I Am Abomination" but they aren't a bad batch. "Riot Act" is a reasonable opener but the chorus doesn't quite explode like they think it does. "Funeral Hymn" works, with it's heard it all before but still this good intro, and then a degenerative loop of a riff, and no chorus. (Now there's an idea.) "Children of a Worthless God" is the anti-Islam rant, this time with a chorus, that is passable, and a nice bouncy rhythm that will go over well live. "As it Was" is less typical, slower, with a riff I like, almost angular(?), then again not really but not the usual serving from this band. The title track is pretty much all over the shop, 10 minutes, lots of savage parts, mid-tempo parts, there's that ambitious word again, but does it gel? Neeeeaaahhhh, kinda. "Iconoclasm" starts in this is more like it territory, an unadulterated throat ripper riff, then some vocal effects in the "tribal" verses and another not quite there chorus. Ah, fuck it, it's good enough. "The Garden of Bleeding" is , sorry to say, where I have to draw the line, it's a boring non event of a song, with a minute and a half opening of pure drudgery, before a riff that the fan club president probably wrote, and more "ambition". Zzzzzzz. But don't panic, "Bedlam 123" is here to save the day, if you can get around another 90 sec mid-tempo intro, with some straight down the line Exo-Frash. Nice.

No this LP is not great, it's just clawing at good, but really, so what? The last one was pretty damn killer and I'm just happy the band is around to provide some kind of antidote to the retro-thrash legions and dopey metalcore copycats. Keep it up boys, long may you keep churning out the same 7 and a half riffs.

Doesn't redefine anything, but it's a great album. - 80%

SouthofHeaven11, October 23rd, 2007

All throughout their career, Exodus have been given the short-end of the stick. After pioneering the Bay Area thrash sound, co-founder Kirk Hammet left to join Metallica, which later greatly eclipsed Exodus. It came almost like a slap to the face when the phrase “The Big Four” began to be thrown around, and Exodus wasn’t included (they were actually placed in “The Little Four”, which was made up of Overkill, Dark Angel, Testament, and Exodus). Most of their work has been regarded by critics as a good time, if not slightly 2nd-rate material. However, with “The Atrocity Exhibition…Exhibit A”, Exodus might show a different sound formula, but they’re still pumping out quality albums, which is more than Metllica or Anthrax can say.

“Tempo of the Damned” was the band’s reunion album, which featured Exodus roaring onto the modern-thrash scene with pure aggression, and was later mirrored by “Shovel Headed Kill Machine.” Returning this time around is drummer/co-founder Tom Hunting, who was absent on “Shovel Headed Kill Machine”, and is joined with guitarist Lee Altus from Heathen. Combined with Gary Holt (guitar), Jack Gibson (bass), and Rob Dukes (vocals), Exodus promised an album that would redefine the genre of thrash and be a landmark in the metal community.

First off, this is not going to redefine the genre in any way. Nothing here is going to cause some kind of revolution, or provoke a new way of writing thrash, nor is this going to be hailed a classic for the ages. However, “The Atrocity Exhibition…Exhibit A” features some of the best material Exodus has put out in awhile, due to its high-level of intensity and mature tones. Following along with the popular trend of a moody, instrumental intro, “A Call to Arms” comes in softly with a military-style drum roll and soothing guitar. It soon quickly shatters as the distortion is kicked on, and very quickly “Riot Act” blasts through the speakers, unleashing 2-years worth of pent-up frustration at failed governments, religion, and society in general. Rob Dukes immediately makes his presence known as he calls forth for listeners to “Rise up and revolt, Overthrow the government! Level all the temples, Destroy the monuments!” Lee and Gary blaze forth on guitar, putting forth pulverizing, jack-hammer riffs and scorching solos, all the while being backed up by Hunting’s frantic double bass.

While most of the tracks don’t feature “Riot Act’s” blistering speed, they make up for it in their raw power. Tracks like “Funeral Hymn” and especially “Iconoclasm” feature lock-heavy riffs that buzz like chainsaws, all the while being met by Rob Dukes’ frantic screams. Many might found Dukes annoying, since has more of a “hardcore” sound due to his past punk bands that he performed in, but he varies his voice constantly. On the highlight track, “Children of a Worthless God”, Dukes even engages in clean singing during the chorus. He’s no Bruce Dickinson, but it’s a nice change-up of the snarls and screams that he is usually emitting (at top-quality, mind you). Gary and Lee show off just how strong they perform together with face-grinding riffs, mainly on the anthem-thrasher “Bedlam 123”, which is bound to send crowds into a mosh frenzy. Also, the addition to Lee to the line-up was a great choice, since Gary and Lee constantly team-up to deliver melting solo after solo. Tom Hunting is also a huge benefit to this album, especially on the crushing “Iconoclasm”, where Tom blasts open the song with a mini-solo before beating the song into submission with his kit.

Most of the tracks on “TAE…EA” reach over 6-minutes in length, so this takes some getting used to. The title track at first listen may seem like one of the most repetitive thrash songs ever written, but given time to sink in, it turns out to be a complete winner, as it’s pinched-riffs help Rob to deliver venom-filled lines of “You speak to the sky, and no one answers back!” The length also seems to speak volumes about the maturity in the lyrical content on this album, since it all deals with religion, war, and government. Gone are the murder themed, almost light hearted one-liners present on “Tempo of the Damned” and “Shovel Headed Kill Machine”. This exhibit deals strictly with the plagues of society, and Exodus aim to show the world just how pissed off they are. Probably the best example would be anti-Islamic track “Children of a Worthless God”, which accuses Islamic extremists of “praising the death of the free” and wishing to see a “United States of Islam”. That’s not to say that Christianity doesn’t get its fair share of bashing, since the title track openly mocks those who follow God. Nothing in the modern world is safe from Rob Dukes’ wrath on “TAE…EA”, and the fact that the lyrics don’t have him dealing out constant swear words to get his point across is a huge plus.

What holds “TAE…EA” back is that Exodus over-hyped this album too much. Calling it an album to redefine the genre was a huge boast, and they didn’t accomplish it. The tracks are very long for a thrash album, and take many repeated listens to get into. With the title track being over 10-minutes long, many might just hit the skip button. Over time, however, the album will sink in, but it’s still disappointing to see it take so many listens just to get used to, then even more to actually enjoy the album thoroughly. That, and the track “Garden of Bleeding”, which comes off as a filler due to its placement between two great tracks (“Iconoclasm” and “Bedlam 123”) and it’s dry riffs, are what really will frustrate a lot of old-time fans, as well as newcomers.

Exodus might not have created a metal masterpiece, but they’ve created something that screams to be acknowledged and not taken lightly. “The Atrocity Exhibition…Exhibit A” is a huge success for the band, and shows off a new level of maturity that wasn’t seen by them yet. Tracks such as “Children of a Worthless God” and “Bedlam 123” are going to become staples at Exodus shows, and fans will eat them up when played live. So until Exodus hits society with “Exhibit B”, this exhibit should produce frequent visits from those who can accept the long song lengths.

Overall – 4/5

Recommended Tracks
A Call to Arms/Riot Act
Children of a Worthless God
The Atrocity Exhibition
Bedlam 123