A modern lesson in thrash

Argument can always be made for bands such as Exodus as to why they never quite made it into the upper echelons of the original thrash royalty, always spoken of in slightly more hushed tones than the original Big 4, whilst being one of the originators of the thrash movement.

Because of this more underground existence, Exodus have never had to please any one other than their fans, meaning that their output has always stayed rather meaty.

After a hiatus through the late 90s and early 2000s the band came back with the face ripping Tempo of the Damned with Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza before hiring the unknown Rob Dukes. Personally, the Dukes era has always been my favourite. There was an aggressive nature to the music that band leader and guitarist Gary Holt had always wanted but never been fully realised, so when Dukes was replaced suddenly by Zetro again, I was taken aback. The third attempt with Zetro saw Blood In and Blood Outin 2014 with some of the harder edges filed down to suit the vocals. Still awake there? All of this brings us up to date and into the world of new album Persona Non Grata, an album that is strong enough to possibly be the best the band has ever assembled.

From the opening riff the title track it is obvious that Exodus are not here to do bad things to good spiders. Those theatrics hail in some of the best thrash this side of 1988. The other big ticket of note is the extra effort that has gone into Zetro’s vocals. It is obviously still his unique vocal style, although now there is an added grit pushing a little throwback nod towards the Dukes era of the band. It just feels grittier and tougher.

This modern lesson in thrash continues unabated and with palpable fury before they switch gears with Prescribing Horror shifting to a melodic stomp, creeping along with the new found vocal power of Zetro telling a tale of human horror punctuated by the closing sounds of a baby in distress. Pushed up hard against the thrash madness around it only accentuates its musical misery and effectiveness.

Towards the end of the album, the band’s inability to edit a decent track into a solid gut punch begins to rear its head. There is easily a couple of minutes of repetitive riffing on each of the last few tracks that could be removed to keep the punches coming as well as the seeming aimless short instrumental of Cosa Del Pantano that serves no purpose.

Nonetheless, this is the sound of thrash at its best, by the best of the original players left, while the Big 4 are off retiring or meandering with little to no aim. Exodus are getting heavier and taking no prisoners.

1. Persona Non Grata
2. R.E.M.F.
3. Slipping Into Madness
4. Elitist
5. Prescribing Horror
6. The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)
7. The Years Of Death And Dying
8. Clickbait
9. Cosa Del Pantano
10. Lunatic Liar Lord
11. The Fires of Division
12. Antiseed