Blood In Blood Out
Review by Yener on May 20, 2019.
So, what we have here is album number ten from the legendary Bay Area thrashers Exodus. And without beating around the bush let me just say that YES, I am very happy to have Zetro back! This is the way Exodus should sound.
While Rob Dukes was alright, he wasn’t anything special, and in my opinion never really fit in with the Exodus sound. He was too much of a screamer, and not enough of a singer. He didn't have the soul of Exodus and just generally came off as a too aggressive shouter, which just doesn't work with their sound. You don’t need false “tough guy” vocals to sound aggressive, which Zetro happily proves on this album.
So album number ten, huh? I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of us were underwhelmed with the past few Exodus releases. While some good tracks were sprinkled here and there ("Funeral Hymn" is still amazing) overall it felt like filler. So, what we have here is more old school Exodus, which is not a bad thing. Because when Exodus get it right, they really get it right. So let’s see what they've come up with in this new installment of Bay Area thrash.
"Black 13" is what I would call a mediocre intro to an album. Though it gives us many clues of what’s to come – a nice, thick guitar sound, rumbling bass, and Tom Hunting’s trademark thrash beats, which sound nice and punchy and clear. The song itself is nothing to write home about, though. I just expected better. Thankfully, the next track “Blood In, Blood Out” delivers on all levels. Classic Exodus from start to finish, this is what I wanted to hear. Exactly what I wanted to hear in fact. Fast, brutal, catchy – it pretty much has it all.
Easily one of the highlights on the album has got to be “Salt the Wound”, which features Kirk Hammett. I personally thought this was a pretty cool thing to do, as Kirk was a founding member of Exodus. So, for him to return to the band and deliver a guitar solo was a nice touch. People saying that it was just done for a marketing gimmick… well, you may be right. But it didn't bother me at all because the guy has every right to be there. That said though, this is easily one of the best songs on the album. The riffs are just pure, no nonsense thrash, with a fair amount of groove thrown in. Tom’s drumming just seems to make the song, as the bridge leading up to the guitar leads just wouldn't work without that double bass groove. Kirk’s performance here is good, though obviously it’s nothing ground breaking or earth shattering. He pretty much came in and did what he did back in the day when he was allowed to do the same in Metallica. And come on, that’s not a bad thing. The song on a whole however gets full points from me, it’s just pretty badass.
"BTK" is another track which features a guest performance, and this time it’s Chuck from Testament. Sadly, the song does pretty much nothing for me. To be honest, most of the rest of the album doesn't do much for me. There are some good tracks sprinkled here and there such as “Body Harvest”, “Food For the Worms” and maybe “Honor Killings”
One thing about this album, and with new Exodus in general, is that the songs are just too damn long. An Exodus song should never pass the five-minute mark. After that you’re pushing it, and there are six songs here which are over six minutes long – and that’s more than half the album. Cut it out. Exodus songs should be short, to the point, and aggressive. Around four minutes in length is perfect for them, and it seems that anything after that just turns into a chore.
Overall, I both like and dislike this album. The positives are that it sounds great and that Zetro is back. The negatives are that it’s simply just not interesting enough. I was expecting more this time around, especially since the last two albums didn't go over so well. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun to listen to from time to time, but strangely most of it just goes in one ear and out the other. There’s nothing really to cling onto... and the songs are just so goddamn long.
Rating: 6.8 out of 10