"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Column

Sunday Old School: Exodus

Photo of Exodus

Band Photo: Exodus (?)

This past October Sunday Old School looked at British doom metal band, Electric Wizard. In the introduction, I stated that some bands are essential to a genres fan base, the first example being California thrashers, Exodus. So this week we’re going to examine the band in greater detail and see just how important to the thrash metal scene Exodus really are. The band was formed in Richmond, California by guitarists Kirk Hammett and Tim Agnello in 1981, along with drummer Tom Hunting, vocalist Keith Stewart and bassist Carlton Melson, who was soon replaced by Jeff Andrews, with Agnello leaving shortly afterwards to become a minister, leaving the second guitarist spot to be filled by guitar tech, Gary Holt. More departures would soon follow, with the band deciding to replace Stewart with their eccentric friend, Paul Baloff and Jeff Andrews departing after the band recorded their first demo to form an early version of Possessed and most notably, founding member Hammett leaving to join Metallica, who were just about to record their debut album, "Kill ‘em All" in New York. With Hammett now replaced by Rick Hunolt, the band began recording their debut album, "Bonded By Blood," which despite taking over a year to release due to business issues, proved to be well worth the wait, as it has since been hailed as one of the most influential thrash metal albums of all time.

Despite the overwhelmingly positive feedback Exodus received for "Bonded By Blood," they decided to fire Baloff as he was too much for them to handle and replaced him with Legacy frontman Steve "Zetro" Souza. This lineup of the band proved to be stable to some degree, and they released their second album, "Pleasures Of The Flesh" in 1987 which entered the Billboard charts at number 82, a position which was matched by the third Exodus album, "Fabulous Disaster." This album featured the song, "Toxic Waltz" which received regular rotation on the MTV show, Headbanger’s Ball, ultimately proving to be one of the most popular Exodus songs. Tom Hunting left the band after the release of "Fabulous Disaster" but they took a big step by signing with major label, Capitol Records, who housed fellow Californian thrashers, Megadeth at the time. The resulting fourth album, "Impact Is Imminent" received very negative feedback and after a live album, "Good Friendly Violent Fun" and another album, "Force Of Habit" in 1992, which saw the band experiment with their sound, they decided to call it a day, reuniting with Baloff briefly in 1997 for a live album entitled, "Another Lesson In Violence" before breaking up again.

Like many other thrash metal veterans, they reformed once again in 2001 to take part in the Thrash Of The Titans benefit show for Testament frontman Chuck Billy. Their performance was very well received and they decided to make the reunion permanent, quickly putting together plans for a new album. Their plans suffered a devastating and tragic blow in April 2002 however, when Baloff suffered a stroke and passed away, leaving the band to once again hire Zetro to handle vocal duties. This new Zetro lineup only lasted one album however, which was released in 2004 under the title, "Tempo Of The Damned" before the band fired Zetro for an incident regarding a fan. They instead decided to continue with roadie Rob Dukes taking Zetros place and Heathen guitarist Lee Altus replacing Rick Hunolt.

This new incarnation of the band recorded the album, "Shovel Headed Kill Machine," which, as well as having one of the most metal titles of all time, was critically praised and saw the band once again touring worldwide, particularly in Europe. Hunting returned to the band in 2007 and they released another album the same year entitled., "The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A" which led them to embark on a co-headlining tour of North America with German thrash legends Kreator, before making the controversial decision to re-record "Bonded By Blood" under the title, "Let There be Blood," in an attempt to show fans who hadn’t seen the band live yet how well Dukes could handle the old material, in addition to celebrating the records legacy. Their most recent output came last year when they finally released the follow up to "Exhibit A," "Exhibit B: The Human Condition." They continue to tour all over the globe, putting in regular appearances at famous European festivals such as Graspop and Wacken and continuing to build on a legacy of outstanding thrash metal.

Exodus - "Bonded By Blood"

Exodus - "Toxic Waltz"

Exodus - "Brain Dead"

Exodus - "Downfall"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

What's Next?

Please share this article if you found it interesting.

You can get related band news and info in the sidebar and on the respective band pages.


25 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Exodus"

Post your comments and discuss the article below! (no login required)

Anonymous Reader
1. albert croatia writes:

exodus one of best real thrash metal bands
who has many great form 82 until 2011.

exodus didnt fall into commercial trap
like metallica...exodus just gives fans
high quality old school thrash metal..

long live bay area thrash metal..exodus , overkill
slayer , megadeth , forbidden are all kings.

# Dec 18, 2011 @ 6:16 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. Graeme writes:

Seen them too many times. One show in London (on the Tempo tour) was the same night as England played Portugal (June 24 2004 - just looked it up) in Euro 2004, we were forced to decide if football of Exodus was more important, we got there and the band decided to delay their gig until after extra time and penalties, didn't come on stage until 10.30! We were forced to leave the 22 song set (and what a set it was!) about midway through so we didn't miss the last tube and have our car locked in the car park that closed at midnight. That was my only chance to see Zetro in the band.
Also saw them in Wolverhampton Civic (the back room, a tiny bar!). Rob Dukes ate 'some bad cabbage' and ended up giving me the microphone for 50% of the set as he vomited offstage. Funny times!

# Dec 18, 2011 @ 6:54 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
3. Graeme writes:

Seen them too many times. One show in London (on the Tempo tour) was the same night as England played Portugal (June 24 2004 - just looked it up) in Euro 2004, we were forced to decide if football of Exodus was more important, we got there and the band decided to delay their gig until after extra time and penalties, didn't come on stage until 10.30! We were forced to leave the 22 song set (and what a set it was!) about midway through so we didn't miss the last tube and have our car locked in the car park that closed at midnight. That was my only chance to see Zetro in the band.
Also saw them in Wolverhampton Civic (the back room, a tiny bar!). Rob Dukes ate 'some bad cabbage' and ended up giving me the microphone for 50% of the set as he vomited offstage. Funny times!

# Dec 18, 2011 @ 6:55 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BoltThrower's avatar

Supporter

4. BoltThrower writes:

This should be Sunday New School. Exodus's last 4 albums have been phenomenal.

# Dec 18, 2011 @ 7:24 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
5. albert croatia writes:

i must admit my top 3 exodus vocalist

1 . paul ballof...becuse is original singer and best.
2. steve zetro souza...similar to ballof but also great.
3. rob dukes...is pantera like vocals i dont like but
music on last albums are good..god bless gary holt.

bonded by blood...thrash til death.

# Dec 18, 2011 @ 7:27 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

6. Diamond Oz writes:

I'll never forget seeing them with you Graeme when they replaced Metal Church on the Overkill tour.

# Dec 18, 2011 @ 9:50 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
7. albert croatia writes:

to bolthrower:

best exodus albums are ...tempo of damned , bonded
blood , plesures of flesh , faboulous disaster are
bands best.

# Dec 18, 2011 @ 9:59 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
heavyhepp's avatar

Member

8. heavyhepp writes:

I love paul baloff and bonded by blood, but zetro was my favorite exodus singer, and pleasures of the flesh was their best album imo.

# Dec 18, 2011 @ 1:02 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
heavyhepp's avatar

Member

9. heavyhepp writes:

I met Dukes and I think he's a real cool guy but im not into his style or the new exodus material.

# Dec 18, 2011 @ 1:04 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
10. albert croatia writes:

exodus are long lasting band..even departure of
kirk hammet to metallica didnt do any bad to
exodus.

exodus and testament and similar bands will
continiue to make good thrash metal albums
as for metallica...metallica have too much
money on their mind and less talent ,motivation
ideas...so metallica discovered commercial
music..but hey enough about metallica.

hope zetro rejoins exodus and one unrealistic wish
get back kirk hammet to exodus and then exodus
will have 3 guitarplayer like iron maiden

# Dec 19, 2011 @ 2:09 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

11. R10 writes:

Good SOS Oz! Bonded by Blood remains to this day right up there as my favorite thrash albums. A true masterpiece! Saw Exodus on that '97 reunion tour with Skinlab and a new band called Shadows Fall in Northhampton MA,with only about 50 or so people in attendance. I actually like Dukes as singer,does a fine job in my book. He made my night at a club about five years ago when he handed me the mic and i bellowed part of A Lesson in Violence. Wished someone had filmed that,i nearly ruined the song bellowing like a 800 pound silverback. Good times though.

# Dec 19, 2011 @ 6:45 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

12. Diamond Oz writes:

Cheers R10! I've seen them twice, both in 2009. Once in London with Overkill and then a few months later at Graspop, the day after Michael Jackson died, where Dukes shouted, "MICHAEL JACKSON THE CHILD MOLESTER IS DEAD!" Good frontman in my opinion, abrasive and and at times confrontational, but very good.

# Dec 19, 2011 @ 6:51 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
13. albert croatia writes:

rob dukes is alright vocals for exodus but Steve zetro
souza is better for a few good reasons and that is
more charisma , when you hear zetro you hear
thrash vocals instantly , presence of man..wehn
you see zetro souza ..you see energy and charisma
of real thrash metal vocals.

rob dukes is good choice but he has lot to learn
a rid of that Pantera vocals..camon exodus are
not Pantera.

Check out on youtube NEW zetro Souza band
called HATRIOT.. and few new songs by Dublin
death patrol..nothing special ddp but at least
you get two best vocals zetro and c billy.

exodus were 10 days ago in zagreb ,croatia Great.

# Dec 19, 2011 @ 7:20 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
wilco's avatar

Member

14. wilco writes:

f***ing exodussssssssssssssssssss these are one of the big 4 together with testament love them
and good guys to hang out with many times at dynamo

# Dec 19, 2011 @ 1:53 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

15. hellrat writes:

Yet another excellent SOS for our METAL enjoyment...nice work once again, Oz mate! \m/

I agree with 'Thrower in that the newer stuff is great...'the human condition' fvckin rips!

damn Big R, woulda loved to see ya goin apesh** there on the mic brother :) I like Gaemes 'bad cabbage' story as well!

Albert, you're gonna have to step down boy...overkill, slayer, megadeth 'Bay Area Thrash'?? ha! But you did done fergit TESTAMENT...as well, Dukes sounds NOTHING like Phillip Anselmo: not in tone, not in style, not in delivery

Folks are also perfectly capable of choosing their own 'best' without having it crammed down their throat by some Yugo drivin' metal nerd with terrible English skills

NP---Bob Gnarley---EXODUS :)

# Dec 19, 2011 @ 1:58 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

16. R10 writes:

Yea HR,glad my singing wasnt caught on vid! Pretty bad! Even Holt kinda rolled his eyes and gave me the "wtf" look,ya know? Yea Albert messed up on the Bay Area thrashers,Megadeth,Overkill,Slayer? OK. But yea,the last two Exodus albums i think are as good as anything they did since BBB. And i tried to get Holt/Dukes to do Chemi-Kill from Pleasures of the Flesh,but no go. I dont think they play much from that album,even though i like it. Ive met Baloff and Dukes and i see and hear similarities in thier styles and stage presance. Dukes is definately a character like Oz said,similar to Baloff.

# Dec 19, 2011 @ 4:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
17. albert croatia writes:

to hellrat

okay slayer and overkill are not from bay area sf but
megadeth are from san francisco..hell dave was in
metallica once.

testament , megadeth , exodus is original bay thrash
BANDS but their INFLUENCE SPREADS to OTHER
American towns...so you can hear that in anthrax
and overkill both from new york......

rob dukes is similar to p.anselmo but rob dukes
screams even more..like drunk truck driver..my joke..
and i can imagine rob dukes vocals over..mouth of war
song...

i am not american so sue me to higher court...i
run over your head with my crap car ..since
you mentioned. ha ha.

# Dec 20, 2011 @ 6:34 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
18. albert croatia writes:

to Hellrat

zetro steve souza is much better than rob dukes and
that is fact.

hell zetro has same voice like ballof and exodus
throws zetro out of band...waht a mistake.

long live exodus..

# Dec 20, 2011 @ 6:44 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

19. R10 writes:

Albert,its all good. Megadeth is from Southern California;LA to be exact. Mustaine moved to SF with Metallica to get Burton to join. Love Zetro also,but i think the last two Exodus albums have been the heaviest stuff they've ever recorded. For some decent Bay Area stuff look to Death Angel,they're pretty damn cool in my book. Were all metal fans here,ya know? All got differant opinions about what album or vocalist is better,so its all good. Great to see someone on the other side of the globe recognize great music. Cheers Albert.

# Dec 20, 2011 @ 7:46 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
20. albert croatia writes:

to r10

i like dethroned by death angel but i get bored by
rest of killing season album....

forbidden omega wave is all good and keeps me
listening..from start to end of album...

last two exodus are good but i wonder waht goes
after these albums..return to roots , more of same
but no commercial stuff please ..

i have been thrash metal fan since ...my god..long
time...

# Dec 20, 2011 @ 8:30 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

21. R10 writes:

Well Albert,ive been a thrash metal fan since oh...'84. Metallicas Ride the Lightning was my first thrash cassette bought. Old school here. If you really want to get technical,Exodus and Overkill in NJ started playing early forms of thrash before all of them. Hammett took a riff from an early Exodus song and created Creeping Death. But hey,enough of the history lesson,im hijacking Oz's article. But its cool that your into the goodstuff,thrash metal!

# Dec 20, 2011 @ 9:00 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

22. hellrat writes:

oh fvck! i do see it now, bout a mile down the road! the frikken Bay Area YUGO Thrasher is bearing down! we only have about 4 and a half hours to prepare!! :)

Also, young yugo bro, Dukes vocals are rarely even in the same register as Anselmos...you might do well to improve a few other things along with your english and geography eh?

NP---Democide---Exhibit B

# Dec 20, 2011 @ 10:30 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
23. albert croatia writes:

to hellrat

you dont deserve my answer pal..

to r10

i was in thrash metal since 1988 and justice for all.

# Dec 20, 2011 @ 11:32 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

24. hellrat writes:

Short of words eh Yugo? best call you've made on here my friend, keep it up ;)

# Dec 20, 2011 @ 1:00 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
musicologist's avatar

Member

25. musicologist writes:

How 'bout Holt playin' in Slayer? That live album entitled, "Another Lesson In Violence" was recorded in SF, one of the best shows I've been to- its on dvd too, but I haven't found it yet. Baloff=my alltime fave! I don't like when people hate on him. >;Check out the Paul Baloff Workout!

# Dec 21, 2011 @ 1:11 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

To minimize comment spam/abuse, you cannot post comments on articles over a month old. Please check the sidebar to the right or the related band pages for recent related news articles.