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It combines catchiness to violence - 90%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, January 15th, 2009

I’m a metalhead since several years and I’ve noticed this band quite recently, thanks to the several discussions we had on the Metal Archives forum and this attention and respect towards this band increased in me the determination of discovering it more deeply. On those discussions, you could feel the love of the metalheads towards this band and the profound respect they have for Exumer, even if they only released two albums back in the 80s. Many consider them to be immortal classics of the thrash metal and so I decided to listen carefully to them before throwing out any opinion or judgement.

The first album is called Possessed by Fire and came out in a magic year for thrash metal, probably the peak. The title track welcomes us through a gloomy introduction with distant sounds and the immediate strike of the fast instruments. The mix of speed to thrash is perfect. The riffs are definitively more thrash metal, while the drumming and the more “melodic” but always pissed-off vocals shows influences from the speed metal. Not everything points on the sheer speed because the middle section displays some darker passages. The other parts are just fast and full of riffs, as the solos enter in some stop and go. “Destructive Solution” has that massive, principal riff that could level an entire city. The structures are quite dynamic and always catchy. Once again the biggest influences can come from the Bay Area but also from the barbarism of a band like Kreator at the time.

The speed restarts are out of the blue with all those angry solos as we face a more melodic section in which we can find definitely more relaxed guitars lines over the arpeggios just before restarting in rage. “Fallen Saints” has the first notes on the refrain copied from the beginning to “Black Magic” by Slayer. The other parts are faster and always catchy. The vocals are always in balance between calmer tonalities and incredible peaks in brutality, taking form the classic German style. That monster of a mid-paced section in the middle, before restarting with speed and solos, is huge. “A Mortal in Black” features again less impulsive sections to point to the core of the mid-paced style. However, you cannot ask them to be quiet and calmer for the entire length, so prepare to be annihilated by several, out of the blue, restarts.

“Sorrows Of The Judgement” is the classic in-your-face tune that takes no prisoner. Once again check the drumming out and the ways it’s done because it definitely points more on the classic speed metal patterns to clash with the iconoclast fury of the riffs. “Xiron Darkstar” has a simpler structure and the speed metal elements inside are just massive, with a hint of melody on the riffs to add catchiness to the refrain. There’s even a sort of punk attitude on the riffs, reminiscent of the Slayer’s debut album. “Reign of Sadness” has a truly weird refrain with fast vocals and immediate tempo changes. However, we stay on the not that less direct tempo, preferring the variety and the switching of tempo. “Journey into Oblivion” is straight-forward thrash metal with killer riffs and attitude. Just by the end is slows down a bit.

The last “Silent Death” has a tapping introduction for the guitars and strikes with sudden solos, followed by heavily Kreator influenced parts. The rolls on the drums, the direct solos and the vocals remind the recent past (for the period) Kreator. The structure is always catchy, despite not being that various and maybe it’s right here the main, strong point about this release. It succeeds in being always catchy and violent at the same time. Surely, this release is a must for every thrash metal fan. Unfortunately, I discovered this release quite late, but who cares. The important thing is to have discovered it. Do the same.