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Exodus - "Tempo Of The Damned"
Nuclear Blast 2004

After seven years of pure abstinence, and exactly two years since the tragic loss of their singer Paul Baloff (passed on 02nd of February 2002), thrash metal legends rises out from the glowing ashes. Honestly their nineties were crap and they paid their asses off only with their live album from 1997, which is worthy of their old school days high reputation. With "Tempo Of The Damned" and shouter Steve "Zetro" Souza back in town, who rejoined the band, guys offered an album that should follow "Fabulous Disaster" (1989). New Exodus are retro eighties stuff and "Bonded In Blood" (1985) again. The beast is back full of wrath and kicks nastier than ever!

We got 10 songs of pure napalm and sound terror. Machine engines roars, flaming riffs are burnin' all the way, and band fires out all its rage and raw aggression. Sound is evilized, sharp edged and Zetro is spitting and raging like a devil. Their poetry is reality in focus. No sweet talks, just pure reality we are livin' in, full of filth, endless games of betrayals and lies. With Scar Spangled Banner this band proves they could make fascinating interview with recent president of the U.S.A. G.W. Bush. Exodus are not patriots like Iced Earth, they are hatriots (just listen to the verses). They are not afraid to spit out what they feel so strong in their hearts. This opening song is no anthem, but pure Exodus at their best, right from the start. First three songs are real thrash metal jack pot. And possible brain damages can not be excluded, when you'll run new Exodus CD. One song is better than the other and it'll force you to ask yourselves: "Is it possible to make it any better?" In War Is My Shepherd "Zetro" shouts with such an anger and pain, that his vocals get near to what we call death metal. Acrobatic and versatile with unquenchable powers and strengths. Full soulful approach, no left no right, but full straight punching with no remorse.

Drums carry deep sound and bass catches real metal high octane steel sound vibrations. Both bass and drums together provide chunky sound which in combination with poisonous guitar shredding and Steve's angriness perfectly fulfills whole sound picture and thus offers real maximum joy to listener. Everything fully breaths in manner as it should. Wild ass kicking! I'll be damned if Throwing Down (with Zetro's most shining performance) doesn't carry some stoner metal riff in chorus, and also Culling The Herd is not quite innocent about that.

These guys proved in past days that they are fantastic musicians and that they have what is needed for writing gutsy music. Absolute feel! It's in them. They were always masters of combining raw half tuned aggression with melodic classic influences, and "Tempo Of The Damned" makes no difference about that. Fourth song Shroud Of Urine gathers probably on a best possible way all shining attributes that raised this band among the thrash metal giants. Heavy weight riffing is in middle instrumental section fantastically counterweighted with melodic eighties classic jump offs based on genuine twine soloing and some doubled guitar harmonies. Everything in this song fits together on a perfect way.

Atmosphere is dynamically changing all the time. It is shocking how many moods this record catches. Probably the loveliest song where moods are changing rapidly and unpredictably is Forward March. Tempo Of The Damned includes also three reworked classics. One of them is band's original Sealed With A Fist, while Throwing Down and Impaler (with outstanding guitar solos) were originally written by Wardance, Gary Holt's side-band. All three were revamped, refreshed with special extra charge addition by fantastic chemistry that works so tight between recent line-up.

Album ends with title track which is nothing but another devastating bomb and a perfect choice for the final execution. "Zetro" screams like a maniac and guitars roar with vengeance. European edition includes also AC/DC cover Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Cheap and it sounds in hands of Exodus extremely ferocious.

"Tempo Of The Damned" is a living proof that there is still hope for good old Bay Area thrash metal. Exodus are striking back with full force. It seems as if something of the top secret importance just managed to get out of control and there is no way somebody could stop it! It is not a kind of phenomenon. This is freedom of magic reborn! No one can steal that away from you! And Exodus boys know that!

Author:   Aleš

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