Exodus’ new thrash hammer convinces

Many would agree that Exodus is one of the most influential thrash metal bands in the history of metal. Almost 30 years after their genre-defining debut album ‘Bonded By Blood’ the band around mastermind Gary Holt presents their tenth full-length album ‘Blood In Blood Out’. The album also marks the return of vocalist Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza which has been welcomed by a lot of die-hard fans as the return to the classical 80ies period of the band.

Exodus let it rip with the opener ‘Black 13’, a typical high-speed thrash metal opener. They then follow on with the title track ‘Blood In Blood Out’ that comes with a chunky riff, heavy and thick. It represents a break from the full-throttle thrash metal of the opener. One thing is clear right from the start. Zetro’s vocals are as cynical as they were on his last recording with the band. This adds an aggression to the sounds that sends the whole production in overdrive.

It is hard to pick a highlight on ‘Blood In Blood Out. The album is full of thrash metal gems. Only ‘My Last Nerve’ falls behind a little in intensity but this is only the attempt of a whingeing critic to find anything with a flaw. It even contains a song that has to be regarded as a thrash metal classic with ‘Salt The Wound’ just because of Kirk Hammett’s guest appearance. He and Gary Holt deliver an epic guitar duel. Both are at the top of their game.

Exodus goes back towards their roots with ‘Blood In Blood Out’. The songs are more to the point, faster and heavier than tracks on their previous releases. In parts the album has a hardcore punk feeling to it especially due to the use of shouted gang backing vocals in songs like ‘Collateral Damage’ and ‘Body Harvest’.

‘Btk’ is one of the slower songs on ‘Blood In Blood Out’ but that doesn’t mean it lacks heaviness. Overall it is good to see that Exodus have released a thrash album without any ballads or softer tones as many other thrash bands have tried lately. Instead Exodus concentrate on their strengths: galloping riffs, Gary Holt’s extraordinary solos and Zetro’s cynical voice.

The band even comes up with one or the other surprise. So includes ‘Wrapped In The Arms Of Rage’ a short, melodic guitar lick that rather reminds you of an Iron Maiden song than of typical Exodus material. The guys embed this theme into a classical Exodus track though. This variety keeps the album interesting throughout. So it feels like a short journey through the eleven songs before Exodus finish the album in style with the fastest song of the album ‘Food For The Worms’.

Exodus have written and recorded a strong album that shows thrash metal is still alive and relevant in 2014. The return of their former singer Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza and the renewed focus on skull-crushing, aggressive and heavy songs makes up an explosive mixture. Exodus are one of the founders and masters of thrash metal and with ‘Blood In Blood Out’ they teach any disbelievers a lesson.

8.5 of 10