Exodus_Blood In Blood OutWe haven’t reviewed much thrash this year, mostly because there hasn’t been a bumper crop to write about. That’s why the prospect of a new Exodus opus with Steve “Zetro” Souza returning to the fold had many a thrashard foaming at the mouth in anticipation. While the three recent albums with Rob Dukes were respectable enough, they lacked the pure, raw aggression the band had in its infancy when they and Slayer were the “scary, poser killing” crews. Now we get Blood In, Blood Out and with Zetro’s return, the band takes a noticeable jump back to their roots. Gone is the more polished, “modern” thrash of Exhibit A and especially Exhibit B (which as a newbie reviewer I admittedly overrated) and in its place is a savage, pissed off enterprise more in line with albums like Fabulous Disaster and Tempo of the Damned. I’m willing to guess that’s what most fans were hoping for, and the Exo-geezers did not disappoint. Blood In, Blood Out does everything it’s supposed to do and does it pretty well. There are the typical Exodus missteps of course, and there’s nothing particularly surprising here, except how youthful and angry Zetro sounds. But that’s okay, since nobody looks to Exodus for surprises anyway.

The quirky electronica intro to “Black 13” may give some fans pause before it launches into a vicious thrashing spree with Zetro sounding as nasty as he did on the recent Hatriot albums. It’s a lovely introduction to their new/old style, which should be comfortably familiar to older fans as well as thrash loving newcomers. The riffs from Gary Holt and Lee Altus are heavy and crunchy, and the solos show why they may be the most talented guitar tandem in thrash today.

The biggest hits all come early on, with the title track hitting high marks for raw aggression and vintage riffs guaranteed to make you feel like it’s 1986 again. “Collateral Damage” is the album’s atomic bomb, with a frenzied, chaotic shitstorm of speed and an oddly anthemic chorus crammed in amidst the spiraling insanity. The riffs remind me of classic Dark Angel and Zetro truly loses his lunch on this one. “Salt the Wound” is another tasty cut with an oppressive mid-tempo crunch and ugly performance by Zetro. It also includes solo work from none other than Kirk Hammet, who makes like the prodigal son, returning to the band that launched him on his way to thrash royalty when his lucky stars led him to Metallica.

Exodus_2014

While most of the songs are good, meaty doses of thrash overkill, a few are less than stellar, like “My Last Nerve” and especially “BTK,” which is rather generic, despite the always charming Chuck Billy (Testament) dropping some guest vocals. Both songs are about three minutes too long, and that brings me to a point of contention I have with Exodus. Over time they’ve become as incapable of self editing as Metallica. Many of the songs here run well over six minutes and feel bloated and repetitious because of it. Whatever happened to the thrash ethos of the short, sharp shock of three to four minute songs? Thrash is not a medium where extended play is a good idea and this album proves it once again, as meritorious ideas and effective songs are drawn out past the “Sell By” date. You end up with an album over an hour long, and that’s too damn much for even a grizzled thrash fiend like myself. Cut the songs and drop the weaker tracks for a 45 minute Exodus attack and then we’re cooking with thrash gas!

In the band’s defense, they fill the hour with a lot of consistently high level riffs and some stunning solo work. At this point in their respective careers, Holt and Altus are at the pinnacle of their playing ability and they’ve become quite the powerhouse tandem. Even songs that don’t wow me like “Body Harvest” make me keep listening due to the lovely solos. Just listen to the wild guitar duels running through “Wrapped in the Arms of Rage” to see what these cats are capable of. As for Zetro, he continues his strange, late career resurgence and I’m still shocked how vibrant, youthful and maniacal he sounds. He even veers into black metal-like croaks at times and he gives the material the snarling, rabid intensity Rob Dukes never could. Another plus is the surprisingly large bass presence by Jack Gibson. Most thrash albums relegate the bass so far into the background, you need the FBI to help locate it. Not so here, and it gives the sound a bigger, more burly punch.

Blood In, Blood Out, is front-loaded, bloated and too farging long by a lot, but when it works, it really works. The band sounds great and the savagery is certainly back, so just consider it the Exodus version of …and Justice for All and prepare to be worn down by a cosmic butt ton of heavy thrash from the original toxic waltzers.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6  |  Format Reviewed: 274 kbps MP3
Label: Nuclear Blast [EU][NA]
Websites: exodusattack.com  |  facebook.com/exodusattack
Release Dates: EU: 2014.10.10  |  NA: 10.14.2014

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  • NeverBlack

    “Most thrash albums relegate the bass so far into the background, you need the FBI to help locate it.” – Dammit, not only you guys are amazing at reviewing albums, but are funny as hell, too. I love you guys, truly.

  • Siege Bantayan

    Interesting comparison to …and Justice for All! Would you say that it also suffers from songs that are too long? Anyway awesome review; I hafta check this out.

    • I very much enjoy …and Justice, but yeah, the songs are almost all too damn long. Thus the comparison.

  • I still want to know how a Hat Riot looks. What are they rioting about? Or are they rioting while wearing hats? What is the hat in question? What reasons could exist for rioting in said hat or about said hat? These things haunt my dreams.

    • It’s funny, AMG, Piston Rod went around for about a month thinking the same thing, but actually believing the band’s name was Hat Riot.

      • Piston Rod

        I still wanna believe the name is Hat Riot. I love Hat Riot!

      • Great minds think alike!

  • JL

    I am sure this is a 3.5 (can confidently say without hearing it). I mean, Gary and Lee can’t score below a 3.5 by default.

    If you want more thrash to review check out the new Ascendency album.

  • JL

    You guys should have someone review the new Nightbringer…

  • The Elusive Dr. X

    I’ve listened to the teasers and Salt the Wound several times. I love Exodus, but cannot get into Zetro’s screechy vocals. Sounds kinda like what the singer of a lame Cradle of Filth cover band might sound like.

    Can’t help but think what these songs would have sounded like with Dukes at the helm. Vocals aside, the rest of the album promises to be kick ass.

    Oh, and the much talked about Hammett solo – splatter some disjointed metal cliches around and cover it up with absurd amounts of wah petal and you have a standard KH solo. Meh. He should go back and listen to Creeping Death a few times to remember what he used to be able to do.

  • Sebastian Bugge

    I must agree with the review. The first 4 songs are very good thrash songs because they are not very long and are very memorable. The other songs are 6 minutes + and have too many unmemorable riffs and solos throwed in there. I must say I am dissapointed in this album after hearing the crushing duo of Salt The Wound and Blood in Blood Out.

  • RagE

    I have been saying this for years! Thrash songs over 4 minutes are just overkill(And not the good new jersey kind) There are some stellar riffs, and great songs, but it gets boring after 6 minutes. Boring is not a word you should be able to use about thrash

    • RagE

      And i enjoy the audible bass too! more and more thrash bands are doing this, even since Overkills Ironbound

  • I guess that I’m one of the few that CAN NOT STAND the bad Bon Scott rip-off that is Zetro. Everything about his vocals and his vocal style makes me hit eject. After stumbling across Shovel Headed Kill Machine in 2005, I absolutely looked forward to every release with Rob Dukes…..all the while wondering what the big deal about Zetro every was. And then they go and get the fucker back in the band. I’ve heard one song from the new album. It’s EXACTLY what I figured it would be. Now…I love Exodus but I guess I’ll just sit and wait for them to boot him again.

  • Thomas Olsen

    “We haven’t reviewed much thrash this year, mostly because there hasn’t been a bumper crop to write about” – The new Overkill begs to differ, but I kind of agree. This, the new Toxic Holocaust, Warbringer, Artillery etc are not much to be excited about.

    • Thomas Olsen

      When I think about, all of those bands released their new albums in 2013. My bad.

      • Sebastian Bugge

        Artillery’s album was really good though

  • Ron

    This singer is so goddamned awful to have to listen to !
    If it has to be like this, I rather keep playing the bearable albums.
    This is like listening to a Disney character trying to sing.