There are a few records I’m supposed to be taking care of before this one, but I don’t give a shit because A&GS is MINE, so I can review anything anytime. And right about now it’s time we talk about the long-awaited new EXODUS album featuring the return of Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza. If, for some silly reason you weren’t aware, Zetro is back in EXODUS. Now calm down fellow HATRIOT fans, they’re not going anywhere. Much like Gary Holt (also in SLAYER), our boy Zetro will be pulling double duty. But in the meantime Blood In, Blood Out (October 14 via Nuclear Blast Records) is quite possibly the standard by which thrash metal is measured for the foreseeable future. It also buries 2004’s amazing Tempo of the Damned. Holt and Lee Altus crack open the cold case of riffs, and the two of them plus bassist Jack Gibson and drummer Tom Hunting all come together in monumental fashion, providing the canvas for Zetro to spit blood, venom, and fire onto for eleven monstrous songs.
“Body Harvest”, the song Zetro actually got to write on is the clear-cut favorite here. From start to finish it is like stepping into a metal meat grinder, the band turning the lever every step of the way. It is also one of the album’s longest, clocking in at 6:28, and features dual lead breaks that rival Defenders of the Faith-era JUDAS PRIEST. “BTK” is a rather gruesome tune lyrically, so it obviously had my undivided attention, and the one and only Chuck Billy from TESTAMENT guest stars. Plus Gary and Lee drop some feisty solos here. After some crazy weird noises, the album starts us off with “Black 13”. The minute this kicks in you know you are in for the thrashing of a lifetime, and if for some reason you didn’t get that memo, title track “Blood In, Blood Out” quickly spells it out for you in thrash-tastic splendor, replete with gang vocals!
The speed of “Collateral Damage” and thickness riff-wise of “Salt the Wound” will only remind you of what a force EXODUS is to be reckoned with when all the pieces fall into place. Getting Zetro back was the best move this band could have made. This holds especially true since anyone who has listened to the two HATRIOT albums knows that he is singing and screeching on a whole different level, like he has renewed purpose, something the rest of the group is feeding off of, since they’re playing with a level of piss and vinegar their peers simply can’t fucking touch right now. Don’t believe me? Listen to “Wrapped in the Arms of Rage” and tell me that’s not a band looking to wreck everything, ruin your life, and burn your city to the ground.
“My Last Nerve” is one of the groovier tunes, and then before you know it the sledgehammer to the face returns with “Numb”, Gary Holt’s riffs smacking you all about the head and neck area. “Honor Killings” is pretty self-explanatory, with Hunting’s pummeling drums setting the scene for these dark, but unfortunately all too true lyrics. This masterpiece of an album ends with “Food for the Worms” which just might be the best closing song on a heavy record this year. At the end of the day EXODUS have released arguably THE thrash metal album of 2014 and there is no way in Hell you will be disappointed with what Gary Holt and Co. have put together for you. Blood In, Blood Out is a grand slam home run that we will all be talking about for years to come, believe that!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM