EXODUS — Tempo of the Damned (review)

EXODUS — Tempo of the Damned album cover Album · 2004 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Vim Fuego
Bands reforming years after a split, riding short-lived waves of nostalgia are sad. Generally, it's all for the money. An old singer or guitar player gets wheeled out on stage, surrounded by faceless session musicians to fill in for band members too arthritic or comatose to perform. Tired, bloated old hacks go through the motions of a greatest hits package with none of the enthusiasm of their youth, counting the minutes until they can jam more cocaine up their noses. Deep Purple, the Sex Pistols, Black Sabbath...

Can we add Exodus to this list?

No fucking way. This is Exodus. This is the band whose debut "Bonded By Blood" blitzed the debut of every other Bay Area thrash band, bar none. From the first few notes of "Scar Spangled Banner", it's only a matter of seconds before the memory of the relatively poor "Force Of Habit" is completely banished. This is the band which recorded "A Lesson In Violence". This is the band famous for "The Toxic Waltz". This IS Exodus.

The famous dual guitar attack of Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt is as potent as it ever was, thundering through riff after riff. The pair show great restraint during the numerous solos. The over-the-top Kerry King histrionics of their early career are long gone, in favour of a more classic metal style. Check the Maiden-esque twin lead on "Shroud Of Urine", and the impressive interplay on "Culling The Herd".

The riffs on "Impaler" might sound a little familiar. Apparently, they were written by Kirk Hammett in 1982 (and he gets a writing credit for the song), and first appeared in a slightly altered form on Metallica's "Ride The Lightning". The late Paul Baloff penned the lyrics, in his own distinctive ultraviolent style.

Steve Souza's voice seems to have picked up a rougher edge in the 12 years since "Force Of Habit", but at the same time has widened his vocal register. A criticism levelled at 1990s "Impact Is Imminent" was Souza's voice was too monotonous. The 2004 version still has the same vehement bark he always possessed, but a deeper Chuck Billy style growl and a Chuck Schuldiner screech also appear.

Exodus' political sensibilities have always been sharper than most thrash bands, and the behaviour of the world's only remaining superpower provides lyrical ammo aplenty. "Scar Spangled Banner" and "War Is My Shepherd" vent at the warmongering and right wing gun culture which seems prevalent in the United States.

No single track stands head and shoulders above the others, but neither are there any duds. This is Exodus' most consistent album since their debut. There really isn't anything stunningly new on show, but the adage if it's not broken, don't fix it applies. Exodus is a band with nothing left to prove.
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more than 2 years ago
Killer album.
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I find it a very convincing comeback album too.

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