Posts Tagged ‘Exodus’

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Exodus – Exhibit B: The Human Condition

May 14, 2010

Label: Nuclear Blast

Is it just me, or are album covers that mix classicy looking stuff with guns, normally assault rifles, with maybe a few bullets for good measure, getting old.

It’s 2010, and one of my favorite thrash metal bands (not saying much, considering I kind of hate that genre) are still chumping stuff out. It’s always weird when “old” bands release albums now, because normally it’s more of the same kind of stuff they got famous with, except not quite as good. They always have their die-hard fans who stick by them, ready to flame young people like me who call their band irrelevant, but even they are always disappointed, and know it to be true. Therefore you can either age gracefully and “stand aside”, like Carcass, completely lose the plot and lash out at young bands for lacking soul/feeling/message/charisma/long hair, do a Metallica, or just loyally chug on like Exodus, which is also kind of admirable.

“more of the same kind of stuff they got famous with, except not quite as good” pretty much sums up this album, although we all know that they’re never going to reach the heights of bonded by blood again, and for what it’s worth, this album is still quite a solid effort. Old people/thrash fans should enjoy it enough, and it’s definately the best thrash album i’ve heard of recent.

Like all mediocre albums, it “blows its load” on the first song, “The Ballad of Leonard and Charles”, which as well as having a pretty standard, yet catchily thrashy verse/chorus has a genuinely awesome solo, and some pretty impressive guitar work. After that though, mid tempo thrashathon sets in for the most part, and the band chug away through some rather unspectacular songs.

One thing that got to me was just how long most of the songs seem to be. The majority were around 6 or 7 minutes, which when coupled with the general mediocrity shows that the album is in dire need of editing! Thrash bands always seem to have this tendency of stretching about 3 or four minutes of ideas into a 7 minute “epic” far too often, a habit that does nothing to combat its irrelevancy.

The boredom generally gets stronger the longer you let it play, and while at the beginning there are some good ideas and some definitely notable guitar work, before long even the most die-hard stubborn thrash fan will find himself reaching for something more “classic”.

5/10

Eyelicker

Also, Exodus somehow managed to make a song about the rape of Nanking shit boring

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Exodus – Shovel Headed Tour Machine (Live at Wacken and other Atrocities), Also the general death of the Live album, and why you shouldn’t really care.

January 18, 2010

Label: Nuclear Blast

I’ve just realised that live albums seem to be on the out within the wider metal scene. It used to seem like anyone with 3 or more albums of material would chuck out some kina “live at….” type effort,  whenever there was need for a stopgap. With the odd exception, they were normally pretty terrible, failing to capture any sense of “excitement”, and essentially just being a compilation with poor sound quality and the singer shouting “C’mon all you motherfuckers!” at any gap whatsoever. Actually, the culture of live albums has brought us some pretty unintentionally hilarious moments of front man stage banter, most notably to my mind the astoundingly retarded sounding Chris Barnes back in the Cannibal Corpse days (also see Mr. B) rip into him and how shitty Six Feet Under are four posts below). But widely, I’m pretty glad that they’re on the way to the door. Except maybe special wildcards that were actually fucking awesome, like Metallica’s “S&M” or Children of Bodom’s “Tokyo Warhearts”, they offer nothing, and give a band’s discographys an awful tumor which some poor OCD fuckers are gonna feel they have to buy out of a sense of duty (I am one of these). Also, with recent steps forward in recording technology and accessibility, most live albums are now taken from the board feed, mixed and eq’ed in a studio, and generally so twisted and manipulated that they may as well have just re-recorded the whole thing with generic crowd noise inserted inbetween, and some retard shouting “C’mon all you motherfuckers!” every second syllable. This makes them sound objectively better, but any chance of catching a feeling of “live excitement” (not that that was the usual effect) is now lost forever. Also, now it’s so easy to make a live DVD, which captures the vibe like no CD could (let’s be honest for a second) and they sell for so cheap, the live album is rendered totally obsolete.

Exodus are old however, so they could be forgiven for missing that latest memo, and hence we are given “Shovel Headed Tour Machine”. Firstly, even though it shouldn’t really be as big a deal on a live album, the band are tight as hell, and everything is flawless and tight to a level that only playing the circuit the amount of years Exodus have will achieve. As well as this the tones of everything, band and vocals, are far from the polished mediocrity I’ve become used to on live recordings, and retain a decent level of “grit”, which to my mind, gives it a much more authentic “live” vibe. Yes, it would appear that Exodus have come up with what could be one of the planets last good live albums. Even the crowd are sounding fresh and ever present, and blend seamlessly between songs. The annoying “Come on you motherfuckers!” are still there, which detract form the overall thing somewhat, but Rob Dukes gives back to us, with his hilariously retarded irate red-neck rant on how “Osama Bin Ladin is a fucking terrorist, he hates your freedom, derp derp!”, which scholars are already hailing pre-emptively as one of the greatest unintentional comedy stage banter moments the world has ever seen. I was actually at Wacken that year, and heard about this, but unfortunately had already missed the chance to be part of stage banter history.

So yeah, despite live albums normally sucking hard, Shovel Headed Tour Machine actually surprises in that it is pretty good! I mean I don’t even personally like Exodus or Thrash as a whole that much, yet I found I really got into it at some points, and just yearned the chaos of a good pit. I guess this is exactly the kind of feeling live albums were always meant to capture, and so on that note, this album is great success!

7/10 (I feel a live album has to be really fucking special to merit 8 or higher, so for all practical purposes, this is the equivalent of that, maybe even a “live” 9)

Eyelicker