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Bonded By Blood

Music For Nations (1985)
Rating: 10/10

Well, the debut album that has probably been even more eagerly awaited by the hardcore thrashers than Kill ’Em All, is finally about to see the light of day. Exodus have already accumulated a vast underground following through a now nearly four-year-old demo and numerous live tapes that have circulated around the scene, and this release will no doubt enhance their position as the new “Underground Kings Of Thrash” now that Metallica have progressed into the big league.

I’m not going to waste time and space comparing Exodus with Metallica, because I honestly don’t think that’s important. The San Francisco Bay Area band have been around long enough to have developed their own identity with their particular form of technically controlled thrash. And comments that are sure to arise, pronouncing Exodus as a “Metallica rip-off”, will be totally unjustified.

Anyway, onto the contents which are nothing short of brilliant. Every track is just what your hardcore maniac metal doctor ordered – total thrash. There’s no let up from the word go, as ‘Bonded By Blood’ comes crashing through the speakers. The energy that Exodus produce is so intense it must be frightening to your average heavy metal fan. Devastating power riffs are complimented by excellent soloing from Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt. Listen in particular to ‘Exodus’ and ‘A Lesson In Violence’ as the two axe thrashers trade-off solos with lightning precision.

Paul Baloff’s vocals are probably more in common with a punk band than one of metal, and I guess this is one of the main reasons why Exodus appeal so much to punters on both sides of the fence; a thin line between punk and hardcore metal that is sure to vanish soon.

My personal favourite tracks are the aforementioned ‘A Lesson In Violence’, ‘Exodus’, ‘Piranha’, ‘Deliver Us To Evil’ and the lethal ‘Strike Of The Beast’. The rest of the numbers – ‘Bonded By Blood’, ‘And Then There Were None’, ‘Metal Command’ and ‘No Love’ – are just as intense, with excellent production to boot.

So there you have it, a classic album in the thrash metal sense which is sure to be sneered at by the unconverted and mainstream media. But who gives a fuck? I’m sure Exodus won’t!

Bernard Doe

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 9 (1985)