Exodus : Blood in, Blood out

ExodusThere’s been a buzz of anticipation here at CakcBlabbath.com for the new Exodus album. For all the decades that have passed there is still nothing more invigorating for an old school thrash band than the return of the prodigal son to the fold, and the enticing promise of “better than ever” that goes with that return. Joey’s return to Anthrax has revialised the NYC veterans over the past few years, and hopes were high that the return of the “proper” voice of Exodus will have a similar impact on the bay area band.

The thing is, although still popular there was always kind of the impression that with Rob Dukes fronting the band they were marking time, still drawing in the crowds but on the basis of what was, rather than what is. The announcement that Steve “Zetro” Souza was returning to the fold wasn’t entirely unexpected (all these reunions seem to be a matter of when not if). It’s not disrespect to Rob Dukes to say that while he’s given the band good service over the last three albums they lacked the snarling aggression that Souza brings to the party.

Still, after a decade of service it must kinda suck to be shunted aside like that.

So come on Exodus, the main man is back so can we have a fitting follow up (albeit two decades down the line) to classics like Fabulous Disaster?

Please ??

Black 13 kicks things off with the threat of a new electronica-infised direction, but luckily it’s a red herring and we’re soon back in the snarling, riffing, thrashtastic 80s as the band roll back the years. Souza sounds as pissed off as ever and his distinctive tones are right back at home married to the ultimate twin guitar assault from messers Gary Holt and Lee Altus. It must be really dispiriting being in a young thrash band these days, none of the big names from “back in the day” are showing any signs of relinquishing their space at the top table.

Thinking back, every classic Exodus album had a couple of truly outstanding tracks on it, and Blood In, Blood Out is no exception. If you want tracks that fully deserve to be compared to anything that has gone before then look no further than the bombastic, vintage and utterly fucking brilliant Collateral Damage.

THAT, kids, is how you do it !!

A long time after he walked out on the band to replace Dave Mustaine in Metallica, Kirk Hammet is also back in the band, albeit briefly, to lay down a solo or two for the album’s other highlight, Salt In The Wound. The album is front-end-loaded with the big hitters, and althoug the pace never lets up things do run the risk of becoming a tad long winded after the half way point and a spot of pruning wouldn’t have hurt.

Who decided that a proper Thrash album could be over an hour long ??

While we can feel some sympathy for Rob Dukes, Blood In Blood is exactly what the fans wanted, and exactly what Exodus needed. This is the best thing they have done in a decade and hopefully Souza’s return has given the band a massive kick in the arse which will launch them back to their rightful place.