Exumer_The Raging TidesOne of the bigger musical surprises of 2012 was the rebirth of ’80s cult thrash heroes Exumer. Those thrashards [thrashtards? – AMG] released the minor thrash classic Possessed by Fire way back in ’86 and things went downhill from there, forcing them to go dark for 25 long years before reforming and dropping Fire and Damnation on an unsuspecting metalverse. The nostalgia factor was high on that one and I couldn’t help but enjoy hearing from these old fiends once again. It certainly wasn’t an essential piece of thrash, but it was a good start after a quarter century of inactivity, and now a mere three years later we get The Raging Tides. So what was Exumer up to the past three years? Apparently listening to a lot of Exodus, and by a lot I mean A LOT!

The opening title track explodes with a killer riff meant to jar and jangle the nerves and I liked it immediately. Mostly because it’s nearly identical to the riff from Exodus‘ “Deranged,” a personal favorite of mine. I’m sure it was unintentional and the songs go off in different directions, but that lead riff… so close! Regardless of rifferal proximity, it’s a fun, thrashing time and sure to warm the cockles of many an old time speed freak, especially when manic front man Mem Von Stein screams such metallically mispronounced words as “Fi-yah” and “die-yah!” “Catatonic” has a dandy of a lead riff and catchy mid-pace crunch with more great lines like “flames are scorching HIYAH! Bones are breaking, I wont stop, light your like a funeral PYYAH!” These are delivered with the expected over the top exuberance this kind of olden thrash needs.

Then we get a second incidence of Exodus poaching on “Shadow Walker” which lifts and/or borrows [The kids call it “sampling” – AMG] the song structure of “Brain Dead” a bit too closely for comfort. It’s odd both thefts were from their Pleasures of the Flesh album, since that was around when Exumer was young, but who am I to tell them how to poach. The song itself is fine, I just get uneasy when a band strays this close to their influence’s material. To top it all off, “There Will Always Be Blood” has a refrain eerily similar to Exodus‘ “Strike of the Beast” and “Death Factory” shamelessly copies the central riff of Destruction‘s classic “Mad Butcher.”

Exumer_2016

Now, lest you think I’m down on The Raging Tides, there’s some enjoyable and speedy fun to be had here. “Sacred Defense” is a ripping little ditty with a cool solo break, and “Sinister Souls” has some interesting, Slayer-esque riffing and more whammy dives than a Kerry King instrumental album (I shouldn’t give him any ideas). As mentioned, I enjoy both the title track and “Shadow Walkers” despite their infringement issues and I wouldn’t say there are any turkeys here. Better yet, the album zips by quickly at 41 minutes, thereby avoiding serious thrash fatigue.

Mem Von Stein’s vocal attack is the real highlight for me. He sounds much like he did way back in my misspent youth and I always enjoyed his raspy barks and odd word phrasing. Ray Mensh and new axe Marc Brutus do a solid job approximating the classic Exodus attack of Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt while paying token respects to King and Hanneman as well. They don’t reinvent any wheels (though they backward engineer a few) and keep things aggressive and biting. The band shows enough song writing flair to keep their ’80s style interesting and things never feel too rehashed, dull or tired.

In all honesty, I’m just thrilled to see these grizzled vets still in action after all these years. That they’re releasing respectable thrash is a whole lotta delicious meat gravy. Yes, I’m troubled by the riff-liftery and there’s certainly nothing new under that hockey mask, but you can definitely do worse than this in the retro thrash sweepstakes. The Raging Tides is like an unreleased Exodus demo from ’86-’87 featuring a different singer. If you love that band, you can expect to like this too, just not as much.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: v0 mp3
Label: Metal Blade
Websites: exumer.de  |  facebook.com/exumerofficial
Releases Worldwide: January 29, 2016

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  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    Sounds pretty decent. Loved the term ‘rifferal proximity’, seems like something that should have been coined decades ago! Fantastic review, Steel!

  • I am curious, what is an v0 MP3, or is that a typo?

    • Apparently a typo.

    • tomasjacobi

      v0 mp3 Is the highest quality setting when encoding MP3 with a variable bit rate. With the Lame encoder the target bit rate is 245 Kbps but higher or lower if needed.

  • A band without a country! Likely from the land o’ unicorns where it’s all thrash all the time.

    • Their country is Germany where it’s also all thrash all the time.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        The last band to ever play in Germany WITHOUT double bass drums were The Beatles when they were in Hamburg.

        • Maiden!

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Iron Maiden is likely the ONLY band currently allowed to play in Germany WITHOUT double bass drums.

  • Diego Molero

    I know you are always nostalgic, but this year you started extra-nostalgic. You have only reviewed albums that are retro-something so far (not that I’m complaining of course). Anyway, great review Druhm

    • I’m in a time rut.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        We are nostalgic because the future is not what it used to be… So we have to look to the past for inspiration.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    I’d love to hear a Nightsatan soundtrack for a “movie” based on the album cover.

    • Masks of the Nighttime Slave Masters of Babylon?

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I want that movie and I want it now!

        • Get the funding and I’ll name you Chief Assistant to the Visionary Director ov Steel.

  • Siege Bantayan

    I’m digging the embedded track though. Good stuff!

  • I am absolutely a Thrashtard. In fact, that’d make a great t-shirt.

    • So juvenile!

      • Oh, nein, you didn’t…

        • Scourge

          It’s ok. I’m fine with being the butt of jokes for not hanging on you guys’ nuts.

          • We’re kidding! Al admitted he’s a juvenile and an immature asshat.

          • It takes am immature asshat to admit he’s an immature asshat.

          • Scourge

            I just didn’t expect the immaturity because the AMG banner doesn’t account for it! I’ll stop being an elitist snob now, but that was accounted for in the mission statement! Cheers guys. Will continue reading daily, even despite my superiority complex.

          • You’re the best! Never say “impossible” when you can say “I’M POSSIBLE!”

          • madhare

            No no. Best to use proper euphemisms. Like I always say to my significant other, “I’m not impossible (or difficult), I’m just… challenging.”

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Rifferal proximity should be an accepted scientific concept. Someone should go and write a peer-reviewed book about it. Or at least an article about it on Wikipedia.

  • Elton Chagas

    Sad to figure out this guys are just reinforcing the belief that the glorious days of thrash were in the 80’s.

    At least this sounds better than “Repentless” (okay, let’s not talk about this). =/

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Fire & Damnation was not the best album but it was still very enjoyable. I’ll listen to this and draw my own conclusions cuz I love me some thrash and there isn’t too much of it going around but, man, I’m bummed that Druhm didn’t like it so much.

    • I do like it, it’s just a bit too copy intensive.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        Not much left in thrash, I’m afraid. I mean, what was the last truly excellent new thrash album you’ve listened to? Not sure if last year’s Vhol counts, so, maybe Phantom Antichrist in 2012, I’d wager? I keep looking for olde, more obscure thrash to listen to, stuff like Deathrow, Stone, Vendetta, Realm, y’know… Otherwise I’d have a severe thrash withdrawal.

        • Soze

          Reign of Fury’s album from last year was excellent.

  • Jeremy Freeman

    This guy is on crack, this has killer riffs, vocals, and the production is great. Also the cover they do of Grip. Inc Hostage To Heaven is amazing, spot on. impressed the hell out of me, guy doing Lombardo justice. RIP Gus. Album is one of my favorite thrash albums so far this year.