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Shoulda been more possessed less by the sea - 74%

Gutterscream, November 12th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1987, 12" vinyl, Disaster

“…eat the fruit from the tree of evil…”

Oh, hey there. Didn’t see ya through the mist. Don’t get many visitors ‘round these parts usually, though I did get two this year alone, which is pretty sweet. Before that, nuthin’ for like six. You seem confused. Yeah, it’s me talkin’ to ya…the well-dressed soggy guy on the cover. I’d introduce myself, but I was never really given a name, though you may remember me from the old ’82 Beastmaster movie. I was the Jun horde leader. Don’t remember? Really? Everyone's seen this flick, right? It was on HBO so often it was joked that it was an abbreviation of "Hey, Beastmaster's On". I’m first seen toward the beginning, when my horde’s sacking that village for no apparent reason while I’m hanging out on my horse. It’s where I have my one line that got me my actor’s guild card, the part where I’m finally bored with the mayhem and yell ‘rhraaaaaa!”, which was apparently the signal that we were all going for ice cream, ‘cos that’s exactly where we ended up right after, key grip’s treat. How can you not remember that? Well, I actually get more screen time at the end.

Yeah, so after Dar, the beastmaster guy, winged me into the flaming moat, I couldn’t get out so I was stuck there for like four years ‘til a car load of German guys stopped to take a leak, liked the cut of my jib and pulled me out by my cape. At least it was finally good for something. Y’know, a lot of people don’t know this, but I was the inspiration for the band's debut’s title, Possessed by Fire. Why? ‘Cos I was stuck in a flaming moat for four years, that’s why. Jeez, pay attention. Yeah, so I kinda became their mascot. Then they exorcised the fire outta me about eight months later by tossing my ass into this lagoon in the middle of nowhere. Still, it was nice of ‘em I guess, but Rising From the Sea everyday doesn’t have the same kick as being Possessed by Fire. There’s just something missing, and it’s not really hard to hear. In fact, it’s straight away noticeable with opener “Winds of Death” and carries over to the title track, like there’s been a cut back in aggression or a metered, almost automated-sounding version thereof. Or it’s something about the drumwork, something disconnective, or a combination of that with a lot of riffs lacking the same intensity that ripped things apart in the past. Or like sometimes the record’s only hitting 27rpm instead of 33. Or it could be all these things. No, I don’t have water in my ears. Well the guy transcribing this is pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down, so I’m not crazy. Hey, I heard that!

Usually I’d sidestroke toward the obvious first, which here is the unfortunate absence of bassist/raking snarler Mem Von Stein, whose departure ushers in Paul Arakari, another double duty frontman with a deeper and less sound-alike style befriended by fellow krauts Assassin, Deathrow and (part-time) Kreator. Funny enough, his more from-the-belly bellow finds some common ground with the semi-suffocated gusts of Ventor, Kreator’s other part-time lungblaster, then once in awhile we’re treated to some curling high hollers cool enough to sport Araya’s hairdo, but again, which vocalist is miffed at the mike isn’t the issue here.

Alright, they manage to recover some of their former power source with “Decimation” and “The First Supper”, but flip the side and “Unearthed” reburies them in the hole they’d just dug themselves outta, however toward the end and outta the blue they throw us for a halfway decent loop that spins like a serene Mercyful Fate mood-changer, like the first quasi-melancholy, softly-soloed minute of “Into the Coven” or the majority of “Melissa”, only less silky-smooth and practiced than the Danes. Gotta give it to ‘em for trying and for it being more on the fairly impressive side than not.

“Shadows of the Past” fights a better bout of metered aggression, then has its tables turned by “Are You Deaf?” as it flies off into sudden and mostly novelty manhandle-mode part-of-the-time, kinda like all-of-the-time “Bullets” from Assassin’s debut The Upcoming Terror. “I Dare You” is a bit ham-handed as the drumwork in particular pounds out a deadlier intent. Finale “Ascension Day” comes closest to bringing this disc’s two worlds together, here uncovering something in a feral beauty that at least five or six of its other songs coulda used.

I dunno, judging from its inconsistency and what seems like a back-step in confidence and all, it’s like Rising From the Sea shoulda been the debut working out the bugs. Can’t say it doesn’t have its moments that make it worth visiting, though. Well, that's about it. Guess I’ll see ya ‘round. Drive fast, take chances.

Oh hey, wait up!

While yer here, be a sport and help me find the bat wings that attach to my face mask. They keep falling off. I dunno, here in the drink somewhere. Yeah, I know I said hardly anyone comes here, but I just feel better with ‘em on, y’know? Besides, Halloween’s in a few days. Found a waterlogged box of old Reggie bars in a cave over…what? Whaddaya mean it just passed?! Piece a shit calendar, how do I keep forgetting it's from ’87?

“…no asshole! I told you my name is Fred…”

On the run - 70%

Felix 1666, May 28th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1987, 12" vinyl, Disaster

"Rising from the Sea" stands in the shadow of Exumer's mighty debut since its release back in 1987. This did not happen by chance. The song material suffers from different flaws. The title track is simply too long (eight verses, oh dear) and the squeaky solos of "Decimation" kill the power of the song, to give just two examples. By contrast, the staff changes did not play a significant role. Mem von Stein had left the gang and his successor, a child of his time, welcomed the listener with a high-pitched scream. This was slightly misleading, because Paul Arakaki did not focus on high tones. He had a more or less powerful style of singing. Charisma did not belong to the characterizing features of his rather monotonous voice, but all in all, his performance was okay.

The entire A side is focused on high velocity and nothing else. Due to this self-selected limitation, the whole band seems to be on the run. This does not mean that the four songs suck, but sharp, catchy riffs remain rare and therefore something is missing. The tunes do not reach a certain depth. They hit, they kick, but at the end of the day, they just pass by without causing an effect. "Unearthed", the opener of the B side, promises help. A strong, slightly weird riff introduces the track and it leaves its mark on the multi-facetted song which does not shy away from some slower parts. Very courageous experiment! Once again, the solo fails to hit the bull's eye and the emotional ending is pretty dubious. Nevertheless, "Unearthed" reveals the song-writing skills of the formation impressively.

By and large, the complete work has a tendency to hardcore eruptions. One finds a lot of very straightforward sections that lack of melody. Even trace elements of harmonies remain undiscoverable and the somersaulting chorus of "Are You Deaf?" borders on parody. Already its duration of only two minutes tells the adepts of the thrash cult that Exumer wanted to leave their metallic prison for a short time. Furthermore, the band seemed to be familiar with a rare album called "Reign in Blood", just listen to the beginning of "Shadows of the Past". Anyway, a forgivable sin and maybe just a testimony of the band member's energy. It constitutes the driving force for the highlight of the album as well. "I Dare You" seems to be just another high velocity torpedo, but don't jump to conclusions. The cleverly used double bass adds an extra iota of profound power and lends the chorus a certain catchiness.

In terms of production, the full-length does not show serious deficiencies - and it does not score with brilliant details as well. Thus, one can say that the song material and its technical execution go hand in hand. So let's be honest here. "Possessed by Fire" had given rise to great expectation, but there was a good reason why Exumer failed to join one of the top positions of the (West) German thrash scene. Its name is "Rising from the Sea". Given this background, I recommend this album only to genre maniacs with a very generous mindset (or to reviewers who hate to give less than 94%).

The Bloody Reign of the German Naval Heroes - 93%

bayern, May 15th, 2017

This was the first Exumer album I got a hold of so I was spared the state of shock and stupefaction from the metamorphosis witnessed on it when stood against the debut. What’s even more interesting is that I had never lent an ear to Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” before this one, the album to which it has been very faithfully modelled after. This was the third thrash metal album I added to my collection after Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” and Destruction’s “Infernal Overkill”. It was truly scary stuff back then, to listen to this wall of brutal guitars and these apocalyptic infernal shouts; it sounded nothing like the other two mentioned efforts. And it had this very attractive intro in which a nice female voice says, “Parlez-vous francais?”; another version I found later begins with another female introduction saying, "Caution; the lyrical content of this album may be considered offensive".

Femme fatales aside, I only realized a few years later what shock the band fans had experienced hearing this after the gorgeous inauguration that “Possessed by Fire” was. It’s amazing how many fans still consider this opus one of the ten finest debuts in speed/thrash metal history after all these years… and for a good reason, if you ask me, although I by all means view the album reviewed here another very strong showing. So Mem von Stein left after just one stunt although if his comrades were already considering the “reigny”, “bloody” turn, then everyone could understand why as there was no way for him to fit into this new trajectory with his high-strung, banshee-like vocals.

The others had to find an able replacement, and since Tom Araya apparently wasn’t available, they couldn’t find anyone more suitable than the bass player Paul Arakaki who was already in the band. And, man, wasn’t this the rightest decision they had ever made… once the man unleashes his throat on the opening “Winds of Death” for this shattering, heart-breaking shout/scream, obviously emulating the one Araya produced on “Angel of Death” (check the two song-titles), the listener knows instantly that this is the man, the one who will carry this violent, ultimately brutal fiesta all the way to the gory end. Mentioning the music, the opener is devastating enough to make all your neighbours run away once they hear the opening chords and of course, the inhuman shout/scream. But you personally don’t go anywhere since this is just the beginning, and the title-track is the next in line violent melee from which at least the shouty chorus can be distinguished clearly; the rest is a ball of fury with overt indications of the rising death metal wave. “Decimation” offers a nice alternation of maddening fast and slower stomping sections consequently sounding a bit more controlled. But then comes “The First Supper”, an obvious prequel to “The Last Supper” so expect subliminal religious messages all over; music-wise this is absolutely brutal thrash/death that makes the quasi-death metal attempts on works like “Seven Churches” and “Scream Bloody Gore” pretty tepid in comparison. If you haven’t had your supper before this mutilating “hurricane”, there’s no way you can eat after it… and most likely not even on the next day.

“Unearthed” is a masterpiece, a diverse riff-fest bordering on the progressive with both the music and the vocals toned down in order to match the more serious tone of this composition which remains one of the band’s finest achievements. A twisted semi-technical riff inaugurates this no-brainer the latter emerging several times throughout intercepting the speedy crescendos also heightening the agonizing chorus which is followed every time by a nice melodic lead-driven dash. The untamed brutality now has a more laid-back face, but by no means expect two in a row as “Shadows of the Past” is another merciless “Reign in Blood” reminder, an aggressive in-your-face rifforama. “Are You Deaf?” will literally make you wish you were deaf; a super-intense mix of stomping thrash and furious grindcore the latter gimmick sounding like the guys are covering any track from Napalm Death’s Scum” or Cryptic Slaughter’s “Convicted”, only served in an even more digested form. This hyper ventilation will put a wide smile on your face, if you’re still around of course, as this is so over-the-top that one could hardly imagine where the album could possibly go from here in terms of unrestrained violence. Still, “I Dare You” tries hard to match, and also dare, its predecessor being another hyper-active headbanger, but the real revelation would be the closing “Ascension Day” which diverse character is an excuse for its stealing the opening riffage from Slayer’s “Postmortem” as later on it rages hard providing the relentless finale this opus richly deserves.

Sarcofago’s “INRI” was brutal, Cryptic Slaughter’s “Convicted” was brutal, but their hysterical grinding, hyper-blasting aesthetics lacked the structured musical proficiency that would make one exclaim, “Wow, this is music! And it’s brutal!”. They sounded like sketchy, random jam sessions without too many redeeming musical merits. When the skill comes forward with musicians able to produce something that is really Music, this is when the going gets scary… cause maniacs with skills/brains are those that are capable of doing the real damage. Again the Possessed and Death debuts weren’t really a match to this organized piece of brutality which elaborated on the latter element taken from its “father”, the Slayer magnum opus, and brought it to the extreme. It was the Europeans again who came close, Protector with “Misanthropy”, the first genuine foray into death metal territory; and Messiah with “Hymns to Abramelin” which was already released a year earlier. Boom.

So can this album be considered a second creative peak provided that the debut was already the first one? Debatable stuff, but the answer clings more towards the negative as regardless of how good the album reviewed here is, it’s still a copy of a grand original which more individualistic embellishments are more of additional boosts in order to make this recording sound more violent than conscious reflections of originality or creativity.

Mentioning the latter, the band fans, as well as any other metal fan around the Universe, owe it to themselves to track down the “Whips & Chains” demo released a year later, a stunning 3-tracker displaying a side of the band which even the most vivid imagination wouldn’t have envisaged, not even remotely. The band had joined the progressive/technical thrash craze of the late-80’s, albeit on a much smaller scale, producing superb avant garde, quirky progressive thrash with echoes of Voivod’s “Killing Technology”, Realm’s “Suiciety”, and Annihilator’s “Alice in Hell”. A full-length sustained in the same vein would have walked over the latter effort with ease, and would have even given eye-openers like Mekong Delta’s “The Music of Erich Zann” a good run for their money. Needless to add, the brutal vocal exploits from the album here had been replaced by much more fitting, much cleaner ones adding up to this handsome package…

to which the Exumers have to come back now that they’re fully operational once again, with Von Stein brought back and all. On the other hand, if you think of it, another “rising from the sea” or “the ocean” may not be such a bad option either… as long as it’s not the same “tsunami” as the one that just passed us by.

No, no, just...stay in the sea - 50%

autothrall, January 12th, 2011

For all the similarities it might have held to the band's fellow German thrashers, Exumer's debut Possessed by Fire was still a pretty good record. It is then ironic that the follow-up, which moves away from that same sound towards a more American feel, is just not as good. The vocals here, provided by bassist Paul Arakari, are different than Mem von Stein's style, in that they have a more blunt, condensed tone, bludgeoning along like most middle of the pack, blue blood US fare like Sacred Reich, S.O.D., or Hallows Eve, with a dash of Tom Araya or James Hetfield. Speaking of Metallica, I felt like there was a lot of riffing here reminiscent of Master of Puppets, only not even a fraction as inspiring or well composed.

In fact, the riffs throughout most of the album are tremendously dull, if not incompetent. Each track feels like it took mere moments to whittle out, with no catchy structure ever stabbing up from the road to snag the pedestrian's boot. Tunes like "Rising from the Sea", "Winds of Death" and "Unearthed" move in an out of the ears, and even where the band adopts a more clinical sense for melody, i.e. "Decimation". There are a few slightly superior tracks buried deeper in the track list, like "Shadows of the Past" which provides a passable stampede of the formula lacking on the earlier half of the effort. "Ascension Day" is also pretty good. However, there are also a few embarassments like "I Dare You" and the retarded "Are You Deaf?" lurking near the close of its contents. The guitarists rattle out useless, forgettable leads through most of the tracks, but the real lack of depth here is in the actual riffs, which feel like they were slurped up off the cutting room floor of better bands.

It's far from the worst album of its school and scene, but Rising from the Sea is nonetheless a sinkhole of any potential that was displayed with the debut. It feels and sounds like a mediocre attempt at the workmanlike thrash of a Wargasm or Anvil Bitch, two other bands inspired by the same sources, only better at writing songs. It doesn't compare favorably to much of the band's German peers, who all more or less managed to retain the vicious, tangible characteristics of their region. Even the mix is less than inspiring, but it might have been overlooked if there were a few songs here I could remember. Probably only "Shadows of the Past" is worthy to the debut material, but the band have since reunited, so I wonder if they perform Rising from the Sea songs with their original vocalist and have somehow improved this material. Their 2009 demo Waking the Fire is certainly better than this, so I'll keep my hopes up.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Disappointing. Third rate at best - 59%

morbert, April 28th, 2010

Well, after their not very original, sloppy BUT enjoyable, aggressive and entertaining debut ‘Possessed by Fire’ Exumer return within a year with a new vocalist as well as a new album. One would have hoped for a step up from the debut. Unfortunately ‘Rising from the Sea’ was more than one step down.

First of all new vocalist Paul Arakari lacks the enthusiasm, aggression but especially manic approach Mem von Stein had. Paul sounds a bit more laid back but his voice has more of a monotone gruff style than the Ventor-Araya attempts from the debut. Secondly the band, with the exception of drummer Syke Bornetto, have gotten tighter. Normally this is a good thing. In this case it is not. Becoming tighter in Exumer’s case results in becoming somewhat less energetic and as a result less thrashy! A lot of the energy that defined ‘Possessed By Fire’ feels lost.

It’s rather annoying in the end the funny ‘Are You Deaf?’ is pretty much the only truly memorable song on the album. The song almost sounds like Exumer found a previously unreleased S.O.D. song and quickly covered it, making them sound like Mucky Pup on the ‘Can’t You Take A Joke’ album. I must however say it still makes me laugh and I still think it’s a great typical eighties crossover tune.

In the songwriting department the band haven’t evolved either. Even worse, some parts here are blatant plagiarism. Try the verses on ‘Decimation’, and then play Slayer’s 'Reborn'. Know what I mean? Or even worse, the intro to ‘Shadows Of The Past’. Well hello ‘At Dawn They Sleep’ anyone? Painful!
Of course there are a few nice moments here. As I mentioned earlier ‘Are You Deaf’ is really great. But the title track has a great catchy chorus. And ‘I Dare You’ is a nice thrasher, worthy of their Possessed By Fire legacy.

‘Rising from the Sea’ is more than an inch short of ‘Possessed by Fire’ which already was an inch short of the great German trinity Kreator, Destruction and Sodom. Exumer degrade from second rate to third rate here and would soon evaporate. Do you like thrash and don’t know Exumer yet? Try ‘Possessed by Fire’ and if a few years later you still haven’t had enough thrash and really want to have everything thrashy from the eighties, then try this one.

Definitely more thrash oriented. - 88%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, January 17th, 2009

Possessed by Fire has been archived as a great thrash surprise in 1986 and just one year after, Exumer is again ready to brutalize our ears with more burning metal. Rising From the Sea also marks the last chapter by this band under the full-length format. Again, a bit more than 30 minutes are sufficient for this band to take no prisoners thanks its brutal approach to metal. However, we must remark few things on this new album and the first one we can immediately notice is the production. This time, the band has chosen a far rawer and essential one. Quite surprisingly, as the time has passed by, the production has come back in terms of power and clearness.

Since the opener, “Winds of Death” we can hear to dry riffs and an essential drums sound. The speed metal elements are less present and the few fast restarts point more on the classic thrash metal. Maybe, it’s also a matter of production but I don’t hear those more speed metal oriented elements that much. However, there are pros too and one of these is the power the band always manages to create in every single composition. Maybe, this time they pointed a bit more on the mi-paced parts for some compositions but they are not annoying or too repetitive. It’s obvious that a band like this is better on the faster restarts but the mid-paced sections are good too.

The title track has lots of galloping riffs on the first part and they are just great. I can only imagine those ones with a better production. The catchiness and the choruses are always well-recognizable as we go on with the following “Decimation”. The vocals continue their march trough lower tonalities to suddenly explode into high pitched screams. The guitars solo sections are just obliterating for their rawness and “in your face” style. There is also a sort of hardcore worship on some faster riffs to make the whole compositions even heavier. By the way, while we are going on listening to this album, the prevalence of the thrash metal elements is evident.

“The First Supper” has more direct riffs and impulsive up tempo sections. The solos are ultra fast and shredded. Being a quite long track, the mid-paced sections are here as well but they are always quite catchy and well-structured. “Unearthed” has a weird, dark start to turn into a more complex thrash metal track, full of breaks and sudden restarts with galloping riffs. “Shadows of the Past” has a riff, the main at the beginning that could perfectly fit in a more technical thrash metal album. The Slayer influences by the fast restarts are really heavy. “Are you Deaf?” shows more hardcore oriented riffs on the mid-paced progression while the faster parts are just a collection of impulsive proto-blast beats.

“I Dare You” is definitely more canonical in its thrash metal progression. The impulsive approach reigns supreme here and the ultra fast bass drums beats are just amazing as the one on the snare are essentially primitive in style. The riffs are galloping once more and the solos add bestiality to this already brutal collection of fast parts. The last “Ascension Day” follows the same style with catchy but brutal riffs and the frontal assault of the drumming. The vocal are quite raspy and low but never too much, conserving the perfect german thrash tonality.

At the end, I always prefer the first effort but this one is remarkable too if you prefer a more thrash metal oriented songwriting. The only weak point is the production but the rest is good. Prepare yourself for higher thrash impact here and even some more hardcore moments like on “Are You Deaf?”

More Technical, But Not As Heavy Thrash - 83%

Desiple_of_The_Ice25, July 2nd, 2006

After hearing Possessed By Fire, I thought that these guys would be a real successful band, even though, Possessed By Fire was somewhat more simpler than this one. Not to mention, the vocals in my opinion are an improvement in terms of rage. Yet for some reason, Stein for some reason has this really uniqueness in his voice that I really like. I just find this guy to be much more appealing for Thrash. A few people compare him to Tom Araya, which I personally cannot see why other than the way he thrashes, but his voice itself I don't think sounds like Tom at all. I think this guy sounds more like a lower pitched version of Kurt Bachman from Believer.

This album is indeed solid, but for some reason I like Possessed By Fire much more, and really, I cannot understand why, because really the only greatness is that PBF was heavier. However, it wasn't heavier by much. I think one of the reasons why I still like PBF more is because I think the songs are much easier to get into as opposed to this one, which has more crap in it that I found unnessessary, example being that we really don't get a lot of new stuff here with the songs, AND the swearing. Swearing in my opinion shows NO tallent in writting, therefore should make this go down.

The album starts off with a little 8 second intro saying how the lyrics of the album might be considered offensive. Then we get introduced to some pretty kick ass thrash. Right from the get-go, the vocals come in giving us a real kickass vocalist. I think this guy's voice is real aggressive, and sounds awesome. He has a real good high pitched yell, which is cool.

I really do not think it is nessessary to review every song because as technical as they are, you're not missing a whole lot. Though the songs that I reall like are Wind Of Death, The First Supper and Shadows Of The Past.

Personally, the way this review is going makes it seem like this album should get lesser than 83, but I think that this is a worthy enough album to at least get what it is. Even though I really should review track by track, there really is not a lot to say other than that PBF is better, and heavier, but the technical aspect of this one more than make up for it.

BOTTOMLINE: Solid Thrash, Killer vocals (at least I like them), definately Exumer. Rising From The Sea is a good album that I recommend mostly to Exumer fans, because this definately is Exumer, with or without Stein. 83/100