CD Review: Exodus “Tempo of the Damned”

“Tempo of the Damned”
(Nuclear Blast)

Thrash dude. It’s been awhile. It’s morphed all over the place especially with a lot of the hardcore metal bands weaving those skipping triplets in there and riding on those single e-string notes like they were the building blocks of metal. Exodus, people, was one of the underdogs of the scene, forever in the shadow of their own prodigal son Kirk Hammet who busted a lot of his earliest chops in this band before joining one of the definers of the genre, Metallica. But back in the Headbanger’s Ball days, MTV often gave Exodus a nod on Saturday nights and it was easy to spot an Exodus Tshirt at most any metal show. And anyone who grew up on thrash had at least one album and acknowledged the band as one of the forebears of the Bay Area thrash scene. Exodus had of a sense of humor in their metal and seemed to present their often serious subject matter with a lot of lyrical innuendo and word play. Definitely one of the more “fun” bands of the 80’s thrash genre. So what’s going on with them now? A fucking decent thrash album. Seriously, it’s good. Better than I remember a lot of their older stuff being. It’s tightly wound thrash. “You’re Crucifucked and you’re out of luck if you put your faith in the flock” screams a line from “Shroud of Urine”. Exodus must have thought, “Fuck it, let’s just make a thrash album” and didn’t over think it. Overkill fans line up. Riffs that could have been found on late 80’s metal efforts feel at home here. It’s really simple thrash ideas executed with precision and produced big. Maybe I just miss the straight up thrash of my youth. So many hybrids have expanded on the original idea, this just seems like the old stuff, done right. Even Steve “Zetro” Souza’s nasally high whine has gruffened up and lowered with age and is an improvement. Where the fuck is my jean jacket? Do they still sell those cool Exodus back patches?