Blood In, Blood Out

Exodus are an odd creature among the old guard of thrash metal. Having barely avoided the dreaded scourge of the nineties by breaking up after 1992’s Force of Habit (which was middling but not outright offensive), they reappeared in 2001 with the stellar comeback, Tempo of the Damned. That still didn’t stop them from turning to shit though, for in 2007 they put out the aptly named The Atrocity Exhibit. (For the sake of the children I won’t even begin to discuss the catastrophe that was Let There Be Blood...)

People tend to cite the angsty metalcore shouts of Rob Dukes as the main reason for Exodus‘ downfall, but in all fairness, he was only mildly annoying at worst (quite decent at best), and he probably didn’t contribute much to the actual songwriting. No, this atrophy of Exodus is best attributed to the replacement of founding guitarist Rick Hunolt with Lee Altus in 2005. Since then, the band has developed a strange obsession with writing drawn-out, seven-minute-ish songs. While one would naturally correlate such extended durations with ‘progressive’ song structures (it’s kind of the norm for Altus in Heathen, after all), Exodus have no such alibi.

Thus, without anything remotely progressive about Exodus‘ music, it’s strange how their songs inexplicably tend to end up twice as long as they need to be; five songs on The Atrocity Exhibit crossed the seven minute mark, and The Human Condition took it yet a step further, with another five, as well as three more that dangerously approached that mark. Blood In, Blood Out, then, seems like a step in the right direction, with none of its eleven tracks ever reaching that dreaded duration. And for a brief moment, it is. The hammering rage of “Black 13” and the gang shouts of the title track cut to the chase, with absolutely no room for error, while the out of this world chorus of “Salt the Wound” reaffirms newly rejoined Zetro’s position as the most pissed off vocalist in all of thrash. Most importantly, the sharp but lifeless sound the band possessed during the Dukes era has been scrapped in favour of a production that quite impressively replicates that of Tempo of the Damned (the only difference being the less overtly loud bass), inadvertently setting a very high bar for the rest of the album… But things only go downhill from here.

From the lethargic chorus and insipid grooves of “Body Harvest”, to the irritating nu metal-ish break of “My Last Nerve”, or the “Deathamphetamine” reboot that is “Food for the Worms”, the album is riff after riff of wearied, phoned in and disingenuous thrash that just pales in comparison to Tempo in every way imaginable. Their problem lies no longer in meandering song lengths, but in forgettable riffs and a thoroughly tepid delivery. Holt and Altus are way past their prime, and slapping on a couple of guest appearances isn’t going to help their case. I mean does anyone really give a shit about Kirk Hammett’s solo – the same half-assed wah-laden one he’s been playing again and again for like twenty years now? Should anyone care that Chuck Billy roars for a minute? (Over the worst, most agonisingly repetitive riff on the entire album, at that.) I don’t even know who Dan the Automator is, or what is it exactly that he does on “Black 13”; it sounds like a perfectly normal Exodus track to me. I can only hope their next album doesn’t feature an Eminem verse or like a David Vincent remix or something.

It’s going to be hard to do worse than the turd that was Let There Be Blood, but aside from its first two tracks and “Salt the Wound”, Blood In, Blood Out is an album of little value. While Exodus might not be out of ideas just yet, the day is drawing near – the scourge of the nineties is back in full force to bite them in the ass, and it seems that not even Zetro can stop it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Joseph Y
November 18th, 2014


  1. Commented by: timmy

    Strong words that needed said.

  2. Commented by: vugelnox

    Agreed. The Rob Dukes years held very little appeal to me. They were better live than on album though, I’ll give em that.

  3. Commented by: Jason

    Yeah, haven’t been behind this band in a long time, and something tells me this isn’t going to change the tides!

  4. Commented by: jgibson

    Finally … Someone agrees with me on this thing.

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