May I have your attention please [!] The mighty Exodus have returned with Tempo of the Damned, a 10 song attack of pure thrash metal. From start to finish, this cd assaults your ears. Killer riffs, great lyrics, awesome leads, and pounding drums. Everything you ever wanted in your metal band is right hear. If you are an Exodus fan then you must get this cd.
Old School Thrash Metal
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This new album from Exodus is one of the best metal albums of the year! Zetro has changed his singing style to make it rougher and belts out a few wall shaking screams here and there. The band is tight as usual and the songs are great. Standouts are Forward March, War is my Shepherd, and the amazing title track. If you want violent thrash that can rival the great classics from the eighties, think “Tempo of the Damned”. Without great bands like Exodus, bands like Shadowsfall and In Flames wouldn’t have been around today! Wake up, Thrashers!!!
I wouldn’t normally use the phrase “instant classic” under any circumstances, but Tempo of the Damned is exactly that. Unlike so many other bands who have attempted to recapture their old magic, for Exodus it actually worked. They haven’t changed a bit, yet somehow that doesn’t make this album sound stale at all. As always, beneath the precision shredding and jackhammer beats there’s a wacky sense of humor that gives the whole thing life and energy. They haven’t given up their demented solos or cartoon-villian vocals in favor of more approachable sound, nor have they regressed into ripping themselves off like some of their contemporaries. Even though the production is much more modern sounding the guitars still have that metallic, edgy tone that just screams “Exodus!!!” from the opening riff. And Steve Souza’s vocals have never sounded more seethingly sarcastic, delving into everything from politics to domestic violence with perfectly crafted, pointedly comedic turns of phrase. He even experiments a little with some growling and a lower singing voice on “Throwing Down” – a hilarious song with a monster groove and a ridiculously drawn-out solo. Like Impact is Imminent and Fabulous Disaster, a few songs stand out above the rest but you can’t help listening to it all the way through. Your Exodus collection is really missing something if you haven’t picked this up yet.
Unlike their counterparts Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer, Exodus never quite made it to the status of the “big four” in the thrash era of the mid to late 1980’s. It’s a shame because at least in the case of Anthrax and Megadeth, Exodus is a far superior band.
Anthrax has suffered from terrible productions, with the exception of “Sound of White Noise”. Megadeth gets boring quickly with its overkill guitar noodling and Mustaine’s grating vocals.
“Tempo Of The Damned” gives us a band that has slowed their breakneck tempos somewhat in favor of monster riffing, and it’s a good trade-off. Keeping up that punishing pace would kill Holt’s and Hunolt’s wrists after a while. It’s catchy, especially on “Blacklist” and “Culling The Herd”. It’s hilarious (“Sealed With A Fist” – take that, wife beaters!) and musically first rate, with great soloes and vocals one can easily understand. Credit Steve Sousa, he of the Yosemite Sam on crack/Bon Scott hybrid. It’s a unique voice/rap that gave Exodus a real trademark vocal. It’s too bad he’s out of the band.
I’m 44 and I still love a good thrash CD to get the blood flowing. I was of the generation that embraced Their Heaviness Metallica and Iron Maiden when they were young pups. I like to think I know the difference between a fake and a band that genuinely loves its craft. Exodus is the real deal.
By the time EXODUS split up in the early ’90s, they had all but lost their steam, their latter-day recorded output serving as little more than a painful reminder of the fact that the band would never recapture the magic that had made their first couple of efforts such classics in the thrash metal genre. The group’s last studio album, 1992’s “Force of Habit”, was a decent enough effort that died a quick death at the hands of Capitol Records, who had effectively given up on the band after their failure to capitalize on their early sales potential.Although it would be another five years before EXODUS would reunite with original singer Paul Baloff to record the now-classic live album “Another Lesson In Violence” (one of the greatest “live” albums ever made, in this writer’s humble opinion), the band’s legend never faded away, with many extreme metal acts citing the group’s precision-like delivery and riff-laden approach as a major influence (just ask the likes of KREATOR, AT THE GATES or any of the current purveyors of the ever-popular Swedish “Gothenburg” sound). Seven years later, EXODUS – still mourning the loss of Baloff, who passed away in February 2002 after suffering a massive stroke – have been rejoined by Baloff’s replacement, Steve “Zetro” Souza, and have delivered an inspired and impressive comeback album that stays true to the band’s pioneering sound while sounding fresh enough to avoid coming across like a mere rehash.Aided in no small part by the crystal-clear, flawless production of British metal producer extraordinaire Andy Sneap, “Tempo of the Damned” opens with several tracks that can only be described as “typical EXODUS”. “Scar Spangled Banner” is all dizzying riffs and pounding drums, with Zetro’s distinctive delivery and “gang” backing vocals sounding like they could have come straight off one of the band’s late ’80s releases. “War Is My Shepherd” follows in the same aggressive, up-tempo fashion, while “Blacklist” is a classic EXODUS mid-tempo cruncher that possesses an infectious groove and an equally hooky chorus. “Shroud of Urine”, like many of the other cuts on the album, showcases Zetro’s much-improved vocal range, with a higher-pitched, scratchier-sounding edge adding to the song’s intensity and making it one of the album’s highlights. The high standard is maintained for the next couple of cuts, with “Forward March” featuring more classic riffing from the Gary Holt/Rick Hunolt guitar team and vocals that range from “typical Zetro” to something that can only be described as borderline “rapping” (and no, we’re not talking LIMP BIZKIT-style ebonics here). “Culling the Herd”, while not a personal favorite, represents a slight change of pace, with Souza sounding, for once, like he’s not gargling glass and proving that he can carry a melody when necessary. Much has been made of EXODUS’ decision to go back to the vaults for material to include on this CD, and for a good reason: “Sealed With A Fist” and “Throwing Down” are both reworked versions of songs originally written for and demoed by WARDANCE, the ill-fated mid-’90s act formed by Holt and drummer Tom Hunting, and unsurprisingly, neither fully justifies its presence on here (especially the latter, which at times sounds like second-rate PANTERA). “Impaler”, on the other hand, is an early ’80s EXODUS classic that was never before properly captured in a recording studio, and one that comes across as far too NWOBHM-inspired to fit comfortably alongside the much more aggressive nature of the rest of the material.These minor grievances aside, “Tempo of the Damned” is as good an album as one could have hoped for from EXODUS after such a lengthy absence from the recording studio. Arguably the group’s finest effort since 1989’s “Fabulous Disaster”, this is the work of a band who still hold a respectable spot in the metal scene and who still have a lot of good days left ahead of them.