Exumer Album Review – ‘The Raging Tides’

German thrash metal band Exumer have achieved a legendary status within the metal community with their 1986 debut album ‘Possessed by Fire’. Widely regarded as one of the genre-defining albums the record is a classic and a benchmark in all things thrash. Then, after the release of their second album, life got in the way and after many line-up changes Exumer disbanded in 1991. With the exception of a gig at Wacken in 2001, the band stayed in hibernation until they finally officially reformed in 2008. If you thought that the band rushed to make up for the lost time you’re wrong. Exumer are taking their time in all things concerning the band. Their fourth album ‘The Raging Tides’ took them four years but it was worth waiting that long considering the result.

‘The Raging Tides’ is thrash metal. Period. Nothing else could be expected from Exumer. The new album is firmly placed within the roots of the band. Yet I wouldn’t call it just old-school thrash metal. The production and sound of the record sets it apart from a period long gone by and firmly puts Exumer into the 21st century. The drums hammer with a vehemence that young bands of the new wave of old-school thrash metal rarely get even close to. The guitar parts are raw, yet clean and crisp and are a relentless attack drilling deeper into your brain. The lyrics are meaningful and critical, addressing the evil that surounds us rather than falling from one cliché into another.

‘The Raging Tides’ comes with 10 songs (plus two bonus tracks). All tracks are rather short in the three- to four-minute area, to the point and fast. The onslaught begins with the title track, a high-speed thrash hymn with a dominant riff. The second track ‘Brand of Evil’ continues where the opener finished. Those two tracks set the scene and the tone for the remainder of the album. Exumer power through the 12 songs with aggression, anger and extreme force. Tracks like ‘Catatonic’ and ‘Shadow Walker’ also show that the Germans can take the foot of the pedal and still stay heavy.

With ‘The Raging Tides’ Exumer have placed themselves on the forefront of a somewhat stagnating genre. The album certainly doesn’t define thrash metal completely differently. However, what Exumer have achieved with their new album is to take a musical concept that was born in the 1980s and transcend it into the here and now with a modern, powerful product, meaningful lyrics and a level of aggression that many young bands strive for. Although we are just only one month into 2016 I go on record here saying that ‘The Raging Tides’ is a favourite for the best thrash metal album of the year.