The beating heart is well in place, and more than willing to throw down

Exhorder started a sound within the late 80s / early 90s thrash movement, oft times credited as the being at the forefront of, if not the inventors of,  groove metal (otherwise credited as the Pantera sound). Both burning brightly and burning out pretty fast, they broke up in 1994 following the release of The Law in 1992.  Still, having maintained a solid fanbase thanks to a host of comeback shows and vocalist Kyle Thomas’ work with a number of  other bands, the most recent being doom troupe Trouble, makes this album quite anticipated.

Wasting no time getting directly to their roots, the band launch themselves into ‘My Time’ a classic thrasher as defiant as the title, letting all and sundry know they are back for another, bigger bite of the apple. The aggression keeps up on ‘Asunder’ and ‘Hallowed Sound’, introduce the singature groove and a more melodic element in Kyle Thomas’ vocals that points to a willingness to take a fresh approach.

‘Beware The Wolf’ ratchets things back into classic thrash territory with a  Testament-like sound, once again showing every facet of their abilities. The only piece a stretch too far is the acoustic filler at the end of ‘Yesterday’s Bones’, out of place amongst the swirling groove and thrash surrounding it, drawing out what is otherwise an immediate song.

The album closes with two songs that show where Exhorder has come from, with a re-record of ‘Ripping Flesh’ (from one of the bands earliest demos) into the title track ‘Mourn The Southern Skies’, taking their thrash and dialling it all the way back into a sludge/doom groove sounding similar to Thomas’ first post-Exhorder band Floodgate, or Corrosion of Conformity and Down at their slowest and dirtiest.

Although not the entire original line up, the beating heart is well in place, and more than willing to throw down. While not a perfect album by any means, the low points are few and far between and easily forgotten by the wealth of great material that surrounds them.  This is another feather in the cap for older bands getting more and more exposure and becoming more than just come back curiosities.

  1. My Time
  2. Asunder
  3. Hallowed Sound
  4. Beware the Wolf
  5. Yesterday’s Bones
  6. All She Wrote
  7. Rumination
  8. The Arms of Man
  9. Ripping Flesh
  10. Mourn the Southern Skies