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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.