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Exodus - Tempo Of The Damned 2004 Nuclear Blast reviewed by: EC

Track Listing
1. Star Spangled Banner
2. War Is My Shepherd
3. Blacklist
4. Shroud Of Urine
5. Forward March
6. Culling The Herd
7. Sealed With A Fist
8. Throwing Down
9. Impaler
10. Tempo Of The Damned
Finally! The bay area legends have returned with their new album, "Tempo Of The Damned", their first album for new label Nuclear Blast, and the first Exodus album since 1997's live recording, "Another Lesson In Violence". Exodus is Gary Holt (guitars), Steve Souza (vocals), Rick Hunolt (guitars), Tom Hunting (drums), and Jack Gibson (bass). What is the new album like? Ah, that is the ultimate question, and one that can be answered very simply: Ask an Iraq soldier what its like to be completely shellshocked by a US bomber, as "Tempo Of The Damned" probably echoes that same sentiment.

This is just a ballbuster folks, ripping and tearing at everything within grasp, as Exodus opens up the gate and storms past, out into the crowded streets of mainstream America, hacking and clawing at everything that moves. Exodus are charged up, completely fueled, and ready to kill at the drop of a hat.

"Tempo Of The Damned" is completely out of control in a positive way. Over the top, the record kills with smashing guitar, kick in your face drums, and Steve Souza's demonic hissing. Producer Andy Sneap has done a wonderful job here, recording and mixing the perfect brew of aggressive, American thrash, a real hurricane that annihilates everything heavy thus far.

The play by play:

SCAR SPANGLED BANNER-Starts out like Annihilator before settling down to a nice rock-steady riff. Souza's just spits rage throughout, with the song building to a huge middle lead before galloping back down to mid-speed. The chorus reminds me of Sepultura "Chaos AD" era. Ripping opener!

WAR IS MY SHEPHERD-This one reminds me of modern day Overkill, just bombastic fast chugging over one constant heavy riff. Very warlike at times, with this one probably being one of my favorites of the album.

BLACKLIST-This one has a more power metal feel to it, with the tempo slowing down, not really all over the place like some of the other tracks. "Blacklist" seems to be more settled and focused in one direction. Souza is master here, delivering his vengeance ala Jeff Waters, just hammering home the heaviness with great pipes.

SHROUD OF URINE-Very generic track. The opening guitar riff is a complete rip-off of Pantera, who probably stole it from Sabbath years ago with "Children Of The Grave". Can't say much about this one, just a senseless, borrowed track that should have been left off the album.

FORWARD MARCH-This one is somewhat mindless as well, but effective enough to keep me from skipping it. Decent thrash number minus the hook.

CULLING THE HERD-Pretty good mix of doom and thrash that builds to a great lead about two minutes in.

SEALED WITH A FIST-Power metal groove style similar to "Blacklist". This should have been an Annihilator song, as I swear Jeff Waters had his hand in the writing.

THROWING DOWN-Hence the name, this one has more of an urban feel to it. Not really any rapping here, but it borrows heavily from the modern metal scene. Pretty good tune, with Souza slowing down the vocals a bit here.

IMPALER-Mammoth track that was originally a demo from the early 80s. This one is pure teutonic fury, with incredible guitar throughout. Reminds me of the days of Omen, Jag Panzer, and Helstar. Great lyrics as well. Killer tune!!

TEMPO OF THE DAMNED-All over the place. Not one of my favorites.

Best-"Scar Spangled Banner", "War Is My Shepherd", "Blacklist", "Sealed With A Fist", "Impaler"

Worst-"Shroud Of Urine", "Tempo Of The Damned"

Safe-"Throwing Down", "Culling The Herd", "Forward March"

Great comeback album from Exodus. Its good to see old bands return and put out quality albums like this. This is just a great thrash album and in my opinion one of the better albums to come out this year. Still not up to par with thrash kings like Deceased and King's Evil, but still a worthy effort indeed. Check this one out!!

--EC 05.20.04
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.

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