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They say I am possessed by Exumer - 86%

Felix 1666, March 22nd, 2015
Written based on this version: 1986, 12" vinyl, Disaster

It is probably a well-known fact that North Rhine-Westphalia, in particular the so-called "Ruhrpott", constituted the epicenter of the German metal movement during the eighties of the last millenium. Just think of groups like Sodom, Living Death or Kreator, to name but a few. In addition, the North German metropolis Hamburg was prominently represented by Helloween and Running Wild. In Frankfurt am Main, we were proud of having bands such as Tankard, Grinder and, of course, Exumer.

The band showed up with a debut that did not follow the typical Teutonic approach. Their kind of thrash metal could not be compared with that of bands such as Kreator or Holy Moses. Exumer did not have the intention to impress the listener with a very rumbling, stomping or pounding sound. Due to the absence of technical deficiencies, the band operated on the same level of musicianship as the American thrash metal role models. To put it more precisely, Exumer´s recipe for an amazing debut was based on the same ingredients as the first releases of Legacy (Testament) and Exodus. The edgy riffs, the tempo changes and in particular the clear and razor-sharp sound revealed the spiritual relationship with Gary Holt´s high-precision machine. By the way, I will never understand why the transparently produced albums of the eighties do not suffer from sterility. With regard to the modern outputs, transparency and lifelessness seem to go hand in hand. But that´s another story.

The song material captivated with a handful of really outstanding highlights. The fast-paced "Xiron Darkstar" explained musically the terms "intensity" and "dynamism" in a matter of minutes. Its riffing was in a class of its own. As if that were not enough, the track delivered an aggressive yet catchy chorus. The other pieces pointed in the same direction and some of them, for example the title track, did not pale beside the just described thrash metal grenade. "Possessed by Fire", which was simultaneously the opener, demonstrated its variety of strengths with a gripping chorus, a casual break at the end and, of course, incredibly sharp guitars. The vocals of Mem von Stein were simply fantastic, too. He had found the right mix of fanaticism, insanity and expressiveness. Rarely appearing background vocals rounded the picture off. Too bad that Exumer also performed a few tunes that did not possess the same amount of outstanding features. Some breaks did not completely match with the flow of the respective song. But to put it in positive terms, it was good to see that the guys were not afraid of complexity. Under the bottom line, the band did not bore us with expressionless pieces and this was the main thing.

"Possessed by Fire" was published by Disaster. The signing of Exumer confirmed the good taste of the company, because Exumer followed a similar musical direction as the likewise competent Angel Dust, whose debut had been also released by Disaster. Furthermore, the contract with this company also meant that the album was recorded and produced at the Musiclab in Berlin by the fairly famous Harris Johns and Thomas Ziegler, the obligatory partners of Disaster. One can conclude from this that the company was not stingy, albeit it surely did not have the financial resources to compete with giants like Roadrunner or Noise. All the more astonishing was the here presented result. "Possessed by Fire" became nothing less than a German thrash metal milestone, totally free from foreign stylistic influences and very competently implemented. To get a first impression, you should check out "A Mortal in Black". Its simple yet highly memorable riff at the beginning and its thrilling high speed sections will surely make you curious for more.