EXHORDER — Slaughter in the Vatican

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EXHORDER - Slaughter in the Vatican cover
4.48 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1990

Filed under Thrash Metal


1. Death in Vain (5:34)
2. Homicide (3:14)
3. Desecrator (6:08)
4. Exhorder (5:12)
5. The Tragic Period (7:08)
6. Legions of Death (4:33)
7. Anal Lust (2:35)
8. Slaughter in the Vatican (7:21)

Total Time: 41:48


- Kyle Thomas / vocals
- Vinnie Labella / guitar, bass
- Jay Ceravolo / guitar, bass
- Chris Nail / drums

About this release

Full-length, Roadrunner
July 5th, 1990

Reissued by Roadrunner in 2003 in a double disc package with 'The Law'.

Reissued by Metal Mind Productions in 2008 in digipack format and remastered.
Limited to 2,000 copies.

Thanks to UMUR, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Vim Fuego
Slayer's 'Reign In Blood' is generally regarded the greatest thrash album of all time, the perfect blend of aggression, speed and metallic rage, closely followed by Metallica’s ‘Master Of Puppets’, Exodus’ ‘Bonded By Blood’ and Dark Angel's 'Darkness Descends'. However, the occasional album managed to shake the foundations of the thrash genre, if not threaten the leading lights. Exhorder's 'Slaughter in The Vatican' caused one of those rare musical earthquakes.

'Slaughter In The Vatican' is everything good Thrash should be– heavy, fast, uncompromising and vicious. Exhorder came out of New Orleans, the home of much highly original, but often twisted music, and for sheer headbutt you in the face, kick you in the head nastiness, Exhorder is hard to beat. If you think this is just hype, consider the fact that one of the band members was once jailed for attacking another. We're not talking handbags at dawn, but kicking down his door, shotgun in hand, intending to kill.

Thankfully, guitarist Vinnie LaBella's attempt to kill drummer Chris Nail was unsuccessful. If it had been, some of the most inspired extreme thrash ever recorded would not have ever emerged from the Louisiana bayou. By now, Exhorder virgins are probably wondering "but what the hell makes it so good?" To be honest, it's hard to tell exactly, but a combination of factors adds up to a final product far greater than the sum of its parts.

The first thing you notice about Exhorder is the rhythm guitar sound. The word chainsaw comes to mind. A chainsaw with guitar pick-ups attached, trying to cut through half inch steel plating, that is. Next are the drums. As hard hitting as anything Dave Lombardo or Gene Hoglan ever produced, Chris Nail's performance stomps all over both of them. Coming from New Orleans with its fine Cajun and jazz traditions, it was inevitable Nail's surroundings would influence his style. The off-beat syncopation and deft drum fills here almost have you hitting the rewind button to hear them again, so you can check you really heard what you think you heard. Unlike other drummers who mix up styles, Nail loses none of his brutality, nor do any of the time changes distract from the overall effect.

Kyle Thomas's throat shredding vocals are reminiscent of a more tuneful Roger Miret, of Agnostic Front fame. Rather than barking tunes about hardcore unity though, Exhorder deal in a hatred of organised religion, violence and um… literature. The album title conveys a bit of the band's disdain for the church, but rather than descending into comic book Satanism like Deicide, the lyrics are pure venomous hatred.

"Desecrator" is the pick of the whole album. It is the perfect mix of brutality, both musically and lyrically, and builds from a threatening, moody intro to an out and out hardcore thrash–out by the end of the song. "Anal Lust" and "Homicide" are pure violence ("Bestial lust/Slit her throat because she's a lousy fuck"). The rest of the album seems to be inspired lyrically and thematically by Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft.

While Exhorder were overlooked during their career, their importance has since been recognised. If you have not heard the band, you may think it is all hype. There is no way to explain Exhorder without actually hearing the band. If you are familiar with the band, then you'll understand fully.
Slaughter in the Vatican is the debut full-length studio album by American thrash metal act Exhorder. The album was released by Roadrunner Records in July 1990. Slaughter in the Vatican was re-issued by Roadrunner Records in 2003 in a low price double CD package with Exhorder´s 2nd full-length studio album The Law (1992). The album stired up some controversy upon release because of the album title and the cover artwork which depicts the pope being led to the gallows for his execusion.

The music on Slaughter in the Vatican is brutal thrash metal. The Morrisound Studios recorded Scott Burns production will have you thinking about death metal, but Exhorder is a brutal thrash metal act rather than a death metal ditto. The album is very consistent with powerful tracks throughout. One of the things that makes the album so succesful in addition to the powerful production ( I have a minor complaint about the snare drum sound, but that´s about it), the tight musicianship and the inspired songwriting is how Exhorder varies the pace in the songs. you´ll get both really heavy tracks, mid-paced ones and really heavy tracks too ( sometimes the pace varies greatly within songs too). I´ll give a special mention to my favorite track Desecrator. Desecrator is one of the most viciously brutal and heavy thrash metal tracks I´ve ever heard. When listening to a track like that it´s no wonder that Exhorder are often associated with death metal. However lead vocalist Kyle Thomas does NOT growl. His singing is raw and aggressive and sometimes reminds me of how Phil Anselmo sounding on Vulgar Display of Power (1992) by Pantera ( just to make a comparison most people can relate to) and I´ll say it again. He does NOT growl. Other songs worth mentioned are the powerful opener Death in Vain, and the short and fast-paced Anal Lust but as mentioned there are no weak tracks on the album. I promise you that you´ll get your socks knocked right off when the first notes of Death in Vain kick in after the short intro. Crushingly brutal yet memorable and varied. This is an album with a very unique sound.

Slaughter in the Vatican is an excellent debut album by Exhorder. It´s an album that´s grown on me considerably over the years and today I consider Slaughter in the Vatican one of the most important and unique thrash metal releases from the early nineties. It´s not a flawless album and had Exhorder continued down this path on the next album instead of changing their style towards a more groove oriented style, I´m sure they would have made something close to a masterpiece. Slaughter in the Vatican is still worth a 4 - 4.5 star rating though. Slaughter in the Vatican is an album I can highly recommend.

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