Exumer – “Hostile Defiance” (Metal Blade Records)
Battle Helm Rating
‘…tear it down!..tear it down!..’. No kidding, this is probably Exumer’s best release – ever! Formed by vocalist Mem V. Stein and guitarist Ray Mensh back in 1985, these German thrashers broke up in 1991 after two demos and two albums, then following a one-off show at Wacken Open Air in 2001 were re-activated in 2008. Since then they’ve been steadily gaining back their popularity through regular releases and touring. Now onto album number 5, “Hostile Defiance” is everything its belligerent title suggests, but moreover, the sheer gravitas of the material is really what makes this special with plenty of catchy hooks and grooves, epic melodies intelligently placed into the songs, memorable rhyming lyrics and an impressive performance throughout really proving how Exumer’s music sets these men apart from the boys. Just check out the massive riffing on ‘Raptor’, sinking its claws into you just like Metallica once did, while the spiralling melodies hold you before Stein’s hoarse but discernible lyrics of ‘..I am the deepest cut you’ll ever feel…fall on your knees!!..’ hit home. Thanks to the well thought out skilful use of tempo variations arranged perfectly, the song (as well as the other 11 numbers including a cover of Scorpions ‘He’s A Woman, She’s A Man’) ensures it’s memorable without compromising one iota on its aggression. Indeed, ‘Carnage Rider’ with its huge, epic riffs just powers into your soul thanks to this rhythmic variety, along with some terrific solos from Mensh and Marc B. – not forgetting the astounding drum work of Matthias Kassner in both his driving kick drums and percussive beats! Taking it right back to the 80s on ‘Supposed To Rot’ with its blurring guitars and stampeding drums, once again the catchy grooves and hooks do their trick creating plenty of irresistible headbanging moments amid the wailing tremolo guitars as Stein tells the grim tale amid the swashbuckling mayhem. It’s hard to ignore, definitely making “Hostile Defiance” a contender for classic thrash album of the year!