EXHORDER
Thrash Metal • United States

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Exhorder was formed in 1985 and have being viewed as one of the pioneers of the "Groove Metal Sound" especially after their second album released. However, Exhorder is still first and formost a Thrash band as they are fast, angry and their songs contain some of the most crushing riffs ever to grace heavy metal. Their lyrics are raging and violent, attacking religion and discussing enjoyment in death and other dark things. Their acclaimed album, "Slaughter in the Vatican", is a premier thrash metal masterpiece. With chainsaw-guitars and some of the fastest drumming in thrash metal, Exhorder is a good old fashion metal that is always heavy and unrelenting. it has been said that they were the main reason Pantera changed from a glam band to the band they are known all over the metal scene Phil Anselmo was a huge fan of Exhorder before he joined Pantera

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Slaughter In The VaticanSlaughter In The Vatican
Remastered · Limited Edition · Import
Metal Mind 2008
Audio CD$152.01
$151.84 (used)
Slaughter in the Vatican / LawSlaughter in the Vatican / Law
Roadrunner Records 2003
Audio CD$14.10
$9.75 (used)
LawLaw
Roadrunner Records 1992
Audio CD$114.45
$12.50 (used)
Slaughter in the Vatican / Law by EXHORDER (2003)Slaughter in the Vatican / Law by EXHORDER (2003)
Roadrunner Records
Audio CD$50.71
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EXHORDER Discography

EXHORDER albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.65 | 5 ratings
Slaughter in the Vatican
Thrash Metal 1990
.. Album Cover 3.99 | 3 ratings
The Law
Thrash Metal 1992

EXHORDER EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Death
Thrash Metal 1994

EXHORDER live albums

EXHORDER demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Get Rude
Thrash Metal 1986
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Slaughter in the Vatican
Thrash Metal 1988

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EXHORDER Reviews

EXHORDER Slaughter in the Vatican

Album · 1990 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.

EXHORDER The Law

Album · 1992 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vim Fuego
Following up an amazing debut album is no easy task for any band. Debuts generally contain songs that the band has been perfecting for years up until their first album is recorded. After that, in many cases like Annihilator, Forbidden, Xentrix, Body Count and numerous others, the cupboard is bare. A weaker second album follows a strong debut, and everyone is disappointed. Not Exhorder.

Many fans of the band prefer 'The Law' to 'Slaughter In The Vatican', and with good reason. Where the first album was unbridled aggression vented in all directions, 'The Law' keeps organised religion squarely in the crosshairs.

Some of the sharp edges evident in the first album have been filed down. The unbridled aggression present on ‘Slaughter In The Vatican’ seemed more focused on ‘The Law’, still taking aim at organised religion, but with a little more subtlety. The guitar sound lost a little of the raw chainsaw quality, but is heavier, and fuller in the bottom end. Kyle Thomas' vocals have far more melody to them. That's not to say he sounds any less pissed off, but Thomas actually creates some singable melodies.

Exhorder were Spinal Tap–like when it came to bass players. To that end, guitarists LaBella and Ceravolo played all the bass on the first album, and all but one track on the second. Their new bass player, Franky Sparcello played an amazing slap bass backing track to "Un–Born Again", which was all he had time for, joining the band in the middle of recording. At the time, there was a big trend toward so–called "funk metal", but this didn't follow the trend. Far from being a plain bass track, slapped instead of picked, Sparcello runs up and down the fretboard with incredible dexterity, augmenting Chris Nail's jazz-trained thrash drumming. Unfortunately, that's all Sparcello ever recorded with Exhorder.

There are a number of highlights on this album. There is a hint at Kyle Thomas' post–Exhorder stoner/doom band Floodgate, in the form of an excellent cover of Black Sabbath's "Into The Void". "Unforgiven" is an exercise in dynamics, using pace and rhythm to excellent effect. Never a band afraid of doing something different, the final two tracks are an instrumental in "Incontinence", and "(Cadence Of) The Dirge" which is well, a dirge. It is a bleak, oppressive song, displaying the dark depths of hopelessness, sorrow and self–pity.

Lost in the flood of Floridan death metal and the emerging Seattle grunge explosion, Exhorder missed the recognition they deserved at the time, and self–destructed after the recording of 'The Law'. However, Exhorder are now fondly remembered, perhaps because the band quit with a solid body of only two albums behind them, and had not tarnished their reputation. There was no hint Exhorder were going to abandon metal, but there was the potential to further mix in jazz, funk, stoner, doom and any number of other elements. Who knows what would have happened.

EXHORDER The Law

Album · 1992 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
The Law is the 2nd full-length studio album by American groove thrash metal act Exhorder. The album was released in March 1992 through Roadrunner Records. The Law was re-issued by Roadrunner Records in 2003 in a low price double CD package with Exhorder´s debut full-length studio album Slaughter in the Vatican (1990).

While the music on Slaughter in the Vatican was brutal thrash metal that besides the aggressive thrash metal vocals, was as close to death metal as you come without being death metal, the music on The Law is much more groove based and The Law is often, and rightly so, considered one of the seminal albums in the groove thrash movement. lead vocalist Kyle Thomas has a voice that´s pretty similar to the voice of Phil Anselmo ( Pantera) and Pantera is definitely a valid reference also when it comes to the groove based music. Now I know the band hate this comparison but there are simply too many obvious similarities between those two acts that I´ll risk my neck and make it anyway. While the quality of the tracks is generally very high, and I´m blown back in my seat more than one time because of the powerful aggressive music, there are unfortunately a couple of tracks that drag the album down just a bit. Exhorder flirt a bit too much with alternative metal in Unborn Again for my taste and they even incorporate slapbass, which usually is a big turn-off for me. Their cover of Into the Void by Black Sabbath doesn´t leave more than a slight impression either. Now as there are only 9 tracks on the album and two of them are sub par ( and Into the Void is even the longest track on the album), it will have some effect on my final rating.

The production is actually not that good, but strangely after a couple of minutes I seem to be adjusting and end up finding the sound allright. It´s especially the guitar sound, that sounds strange to my ears.

While The Law rightly should be called a seminal album in the groove thrash movement, my overall feeling about the album is actually that it sounds like a transitional album. The band try new things and the album is a bit inconsistent, which is rather typical for transitional albums. The problem here is that there never came a 3rd album, so we never learned what Exhorder could have transformed into. They disbanded after the album was released. A 3.5 star rating will do.

EXHORDER Slaughter in the Vatican

Album · 1990 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
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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