Exodus is one of the metal community’s most legendary acts. The Richmond, California-based band has been making pure metal for the masses for well over three decades. In that time, the band has seen its highs and its lows, like any band out there. This past October, Exodus reached another high when it released its latest album Blood In, Blood Out. The album, the band’s tenth full-length studio release is arguably the band’s best work to date. One could say that that is thanks to the return of front man Steve Souza. It could also be that the band produced this album itself, essentially keeping full creative control within the band’s ranks. Regardless the end result of Blood In, Blood Out is an album that every purist thrash metal fan will thoroughly enjoy and an album that is just as deserving of a spot on this year’s list of the best new metal albums as those from Overkill, Anti-Mortem, and fellow thrash metal kings Machine Head among so many others. The album’s lead single and title track is proof of that. The song is a battle cry of sorts from the band letting audiences know in on uncertain terms that Exodus is most certainly back. ‘Collateral Damage,’ the album’s third track is more proof that Blood In, Blood Out is the band’s best work to date. It is a socio-politically charged piece that attacks those in the higher echelons of the world’s political and economic machines. On the completely opposite end of the spectrum, the band offers up a piece in ‘My Last Nerve’ that every listener will appreciate. It goes after those people that are so quick to make life miserable for everyone around them. All three of these pieces are clear examples of what makes Blood In, Blood Out Exodus’ best album to date and one of the year’s best new metal albums. If they are not enough for listeners, there is also a commentary on the inhuman acts of violence committed against innocent lives by certain Muslim extremist groups in ‘Honor Killings’ another social commentary in ‘Salt The Wound’ and even a rather interesting commentary on the atrocious acts of the BTK Killer among much more throughout this album. Again, these songs taken into consideration with the others noted here (and those not noted) result in an album that every metal purist will appreciate.
It goes without saying that Blood In, Blood Out is the best work that Exodus has released in the course of its three decades-plus long life. It is a thrash record that takes audiences back to thrash metal’s heyday. That is evident right from the album’s lead single and title track. The song is the perfect lead-off for the album with the pummeling attack of drummer Tom Hunting and shredding of guitarists Gary Holt and Lee Altus. Front man Steve Souza adds his own touch with a vocal style that easily matches that of Overkill front man Bobby Ellsworth. He sings in this song, “We’re throwing down the gauntlet/Chomping at the bit/About to lay down the law/Show you all the way/Bear witness to Genesis/Of the violence the way it was back in the day/We’ve been here from the start/With a one track mind/We kept the hate alive/Always had the power/Now is zero hour/Tonight we’re gonna fight like it’s 1985.” The reference to 1985 is an obvious reference to the band’s 1985 debut record Bonded By Blood, to which many fans have compared this record stylistically speaking. It could also be argued that it’s a pun in reference to a famous Prince song. That opening verse is a statement to all of the purists and psuedo-metal bands out there that currently permeate the metal community. Souza goes on with his attack singing in the song’s chorus, “Dive in or bow out/If you have the pedigree/Welcome to the family/All in or all out/Half way, no way/Give it all you’ve got/We wrote the book so you’d better know the plot/New breed, old creed/Let’s see what you brought/This s&*$ has turned into a rout/Blood in, Blood out.” Souza and company leave nothing to doubt here. This is a full-on first salvo from Exodus in its new album. And it hits its target full force. Audiences can check out the song’s official companion video online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c69S3pD8qI. The official lyric video is also available online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfu94oJ1so8.
Blood In, Blood Out’s lead single and title track was the perfect choice to re-introduce the band to the metal legions around the world. It is a full-on musical assault from the band, proving right off the top why this album is the band’s best work to date. Another good example of what makes this album such a hit for fans is the album’s socio-politically charged opus ‘Collateral Damage.’ As with the album’s lead single, this piece is another excellent throwback to thrash metal’s heyday. That same dual-guitar assault coupled with Tom Hunting’s drumming and Steve Souza’s shredding vocal style drives the song from start to finish. The song’s socio-politically charged lyrics make the song even more hard-hitting. Souza sings in this song, “Blitzkrieg, insurgence/Under the thumbs of the powers that be/Conflict, tension, unlawful detention/They don’t give a f&*) about you or me/We are all just collateral damage/the s%&$ they step in on their way/Just puppets used to their advantage/To chew up and throw away.” Yet again, Souza and company leave no doubt as to the message being sent here. It’s a nice change of pace from all of the bands out there whose members love to write in metaphors, thus leaving many to misinterpret said bands’ songs. There’s just as little doubt left in the song’s closing verse as Souza sings, “Illuminati of the one percent/We chase their carrot on a string/Wall street deceit all stuck on repeat/Peons serving to the kings/To them it’s all just a natural selection/A birth right of gluttony/Like a kind of Immaculate Conception/Of inbred conformity.” Taking that verse and the song’s opening verse into consideration, it’s obvious that this song is a protest and a call to action. The band is bringing to people’s attention what is going on around us and to us as a result of the people in the world’s upper echelons of politics and economics. The band’s members are saying that people need to be aware of this and start standing up to those people and their institutions that are controlling the world. Such a powerful message set against an equally powerful musical backing makes Blood In, Blood Out even more of a hit for fans of this veteran thrash metal band.
The socio-political commentary contained in ‘Collateral Damage’ and the full-on musical assault of ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ are both key examples of what makes this album Exodus’ best work to date. There is also a commentary in ‘My Last Nerve’ that will impress audiences just as much as those previously noted songs. The commentary in question goes after those people that seem to live to make the lives of everyone around them miserable. Musically speaking, this song isn’t the full throttle attack of ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ or ‘Collateral Damage.’ But even being a little bit slower, it still boasts as much power as those songs and those not noted here. Souza sings in this piece, “I’m so irritated/Being kicked to the curb/Every time you open your mouth/You try to get in the last word/Those who live in glass houses /Should not be throwing stones/It all comes crashing down/You never left well enough alone.” He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “So many excuses/Always laying the blame/You’re always pointing the finger/Adding fuel to the flame/Another slander, another slur/Another hollow apology/So many verbal abuses/Believe your own mythology.” These are words to which anyone can relate metalhead or not. Everyone has dealt that person or even those people who will step on everyone else to get to the top. Those that will throw others under the bus every chance they get. They are the same ones that make every excuse as to why it’s everybody else’s fault that this or that event goes awry. This is a universal topic. And the members of Exodus have handled it expertly in this song both musically and lyrically. It is just one more reason that Exodus’ fans new and old alike will enjoy Blood In, Blood Out.
‘Blood In, Blood Out,’ ‘Collateral Damage,’ and ‘My Last Nerve’ are all excellent examples of what makes Exodus’ tenth full length album well worth the listen by any metal purist. They are collectively just a sample of what makes this album so enjoyable by any purist metalhead and thrash metal fan. The politically charged attack of ‘Honor Killings’ is another example of what makes this album so hard hitting. The band tackles the atrocities committed by the various Muslim extremist groups in the Middle East against innocent lives in this song. And ‘Salt The Wound’ is lyrically along the same lines as ‘Last Nerve.’ There is even an interesting commentary on the equally atrocious acts of the BTK Killer and the shocking revelation of who turned out to be in the end. In the grand scheme of things, it is a commentary about how we as people think we know someone but in reality we really never know as much as we might think. Whether it be that song, the politically charged ‘Honor Killings,’ the social commentary of ‘Salt The Wound’ or the topics covered in the album’s other tracks, every listener will agree that every one of these songs (including those not noted) combine to make Blood In, Blood Out Exodus’ best album to date, especially when considered alongside the songs’ musical content.
Blood In, Blood Out is available in stores and online now and Exodus is currently on tour in support of the album. The band is scheduled to perform at The Palladium in Worcester, MA today and at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ tomorrow. It will make stops in Philadelphia and Cleveland over the weekend. Audiences can check out Exodus’ latest tour dates and keep up with the band’s latest updates online now at:
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