Release Date: Oct 14, 2014
Record label: Nuclear Blast
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Speed/Thrash Metal
Metal purists will always insist that Exodus' finest hour is their 1985 full-length debut, Bonded By Blood. It's a monster of a record that has earned it's legendary status to be sure. There's even a retro-thrash band named after it. However, for this listener, Exodus' truly shining moment is 2004's Tempo of the Damned.
Thrash has something of a campy appeal, catering to humanity's more primal side but tempered with healthy doses of dark humour. This was something Exodus lost when long-time vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza left after 2004's Tempo of the Damned and was replaced by Rob Dukes, a good vocalist in his own right, but lacking the sneer Zetro was always wearing when singing.Now, a decade later, the band's second vocalist (RIP Paul Baloff) has returned for Blood In, Blood Out. Evidently the band re-bonded with Zetro quickly, as the chemistry exhibited on the album results in something far from being Atrocity Exhibition's "C" piece.
The last two Exodus albums took the Bay Area thrash legends into firmly progressive and contemporary territory, with a bewildering number of riffs piled up like bones on a funeral pyre. While those records confirmed the band’s ability to move with the times, it’s hard to deny that Blood In, Blood Out’s wholesale return to the vicious thrash simplicity that Exodus helped to define 30 years ago is a joyous and welcome development. The return of vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza – absent since 2004’s Tempo of the Damned – certainly helps too, his rasping cackle adding bug-eyed intensity to the hostile refrains of Black 13, Collateral Damage and the gleefully gruesome Body Harvest.
The veteran San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal legends' tenth studio album is also their first long-layer to feature the singing/screaming talents of Steve "Zetro" Souza since 2004's Tempo of the Damned -- Rob Dukes, who handled vocal duties on the band's four prior outings, split with the group in the summer of 2014. Band and ex/current/deceased lead singer acrimony aside, the 11- track Blood In, Blood Out mostly crushes it, offering up a pulverizing set of textbook thrash-induced mayhem that somehow manages to sound both classic and vital. The band tosses a red herring into the pit with the electro-stomp intro to opener "Black 13," but it doesn't take long for guitarists Gary Holt and Lee Altus to unleash a barrage of staccato riffage that, like a perfectly calculated headshot, effectively drenches the listener in assorted bits of viscera.