EXHORDER

Thrash Metal / Groove 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 "The Law" was released. It has been said that Exhorder was the main reason Pantera changed from a glam to groove metal sound as Phil Anselmo was a huge fan of Exhorder before he joined Pantera.

However, Exhorder is still first and foremost a thrash metal 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 discuss death and other dark things.

Their acclaimed debut 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.

The band split in 1993, and reformed for
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EXHORDER Discography

EXHORDER albums / top albums

EXHORDER Slaughter in the Vatican album cover 4.50 | 8 ratings
Slaughter in the Vatican
Thrash Metal 1990
EXHORDER The Law album cover 4.09 | 4 ratings
The Law
Thrash Metal 1992
EXHORDER Mourn The Southern Skies album cover 3.67 | 2 ratings
Mourn The Southern Skies
Groove Metal 2019

EXHORDER EPs & splits

EXHORDER Live Death album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Live Death
Thrash Metal 1994

EXHORDER live albums

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

EXHORDER Get Rude album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Get Rude
Thrash Metal 1986
EXHORDER Slaughter in the Vatican album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Slaughter in the Vatican
Thrash Metal 1988

EXHORDER re-issues & compilations

EXHORDER singles (1)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Legions of Death (live)
Thrash Metal 2019

EXHORDER movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

EXHORDER Reviews

EXHORDER Mourn The Southern Skies

Album · 2019 · Groove Metal
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Kev Rowland
Some 27 years since the last album ‘The Law’, and nearly 30 years since the iconic debut ‘Slaughter In The Vatican’, Exhorder are back. The only original members are singer Kyle Thomas and guitarist Vinnie LaBella, but they knew what they wanted to achieve this time around and soon brought longtime friend and former member, bassist Jason VieBrooks (Heathen, Grip Inc.). Soon added were drummer Sasha Horn (Forbidden) and guitarist Marzi Montazeri (Heavy As Texas, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals) and they hit the ground running, playing gigs concentrating on material from the original two albums, before turning their attention to this, the “comeback” album.

What we have here is a thrash album, hugely influenced in particular by Testament, combined with groove in a manner which is incredibly accessible. Some may know Thomas from his time with Trouble (with whom he is still playing), and there is no doubt that he is quite some singer in the style of Chuck Billy. While he has plenty of power and range, he is a singer as opposed to a screamer and is fond of going into a lower register, especially when the music slows down. His annunciation is really clear for this style of music, and behind him he has a rhythm section which keeps it locked down and two guitarists who are obviously having a blast playing off each other.

Old fans of the band will be pleased to have them back, especially as they tear through the high-octane thrash of “Ripping Flesh” which originally appeared on the first demo, 1986’s ‘Get Rude’. If that isn’t enough, they also invited back original drummer Chris Nail to hold it all together. This is a fun romp, and let’s hope there is enough success for the band to keep it together and produce more albums like this one.

EXHORDER Live Death

Split · 1994 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Live Death" is a split live album release recorded live at the Milwaukee Metalfest, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1992. The album was released through Restless Brand Records in 1994. "Live Death" features performances by Suffocation, Malevolent Creation, Exhorder, and Cancer.

Suffocation, Malevolent Creation, and Cancer all play death metal while Exhorder is thrash metal in the brutal end of the scale. All four bands were in their infancy at this point, and none of them had released more than maximum two studio albums at taht point, and the material featured on this album refects that, as all tracks on the album are culled from the earliest releases of the bands. "Jesus Wept" and "Infecting the Crypts" by Suffocation, "Premature Burial", "Slaughter of Innocence", and "Decadence Within" by Malevolent Creation, "The Law", "(Cadence of) the Dirge", and "Desecrator by Exhorder, and "Hung, Drawn and Quartered" and "Blood Bath" by Cancer. Most of the tracks are today considered "classic" material by the various bands. Naturally these are only selections from the various bands full shows.

The recording quality is very raw and I dare say not much above lo-fi recorded audience bootlegs (I´m being a bit harsh here). So you won´t get the most detailed performances, but instead an authentic sounding recording, which presents the material like it was played on the day. No overdubs, no polish (the sound quality is slightly better on the Malevolent Creation and Exhorder tracks than on the Suffocation and Cancer tracks). It´s a great pleasure to hear how well playing the various bands are even this early on in their careers, and the selection of tracks and how the tracklist is constructed also work really well. The sound quality is bound to be a challenge for some and personally I could have wished for a slightly more clear sounding production, but as an authentic document of the bands performances that day, "Live Death" works pretty well. A 3 star (60%) rating is deserved.

EXHORDER Slaughter in the Vatican

Album · 1990 · Thrash Metal
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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
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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
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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.

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