Exodus – “Blood In Blood Out” (Nuclear Blast Records)
Prepare for the Exodus attack! Spanning a career of 34 years, this most famous of the original Bay Area thrashers are now onto their 10th album which amazingly also sees the return of their previous vocalist Steve ‘Zetro’ Sousa, who had the unenviable task of stepping into the shoes of the late but immortalized Paul Baloff. Although enjoying commercial success in their time, Exodus have always remained true to their thrash roots despite being now down to founder drummer Tom Hunting and long serving guitarist Gary Holt, the only member to play on every Exodus record. Meeting the guys over the years only served to confirm that beyond musicians, they are fans and moreover thrashers at heart themselves. Over 3 decades on very little has changed with “Blood In Blood Out” showing little in the way of mellowing out this band, most of whom must be approaching their fifties! But listening to the likes of ‘Wrapped In The Arms Of Rage’, ‘Body Harvest’ and ‘Salt The Wound’ – on which Kirk Hammett plays the solo – it’s evident that this isn’t some retro hash, but a modern, premiere league monster that not only seeks to keep the thrash banner alive, but Exodus at the very top of it! Whilst being a disciple of Baloff I could never get used to Zet’s thrashed out Bon Scott voice, but he has done a fine job here (and with short notice too given the firing of Rob Dukes) befitting his earlier contributions during the growth period of Exodus from 1986 to 1993. Like moonshine meeting fine wine Gary Holt and ex Heathener Lee Altus are like a coupla buckaroos with razor sharp thrash riffs jumping out all over the place and slamming into each other just like their human counterparts in the mosh before double duking us out with their wailing crescendo solos. If anything Holts stints in Slayer have made him even more brutal with his guitar sound being even more harsher than in the past! Sterling performances all around, but the star of the show has to be Tom Hunting, a man whose past ill health has seen him take time off from the band, but no such issue here cos he is just killing it with probably the best drum sound I’ve heard in a long time. With thrash enjoying a resurgence from both old stalwarts and feisty newcomers Exodus have timed it just right to inject their venom and moreover bring their leadership to bear on metal once more.