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Generation Kill - "Red, White And Blood" (CD)

Generation Kill - "Red, White And Blood" CD cover image

"Red, White And Blood" track listing:

1. Hate (3:23)
2. Red White and Blood (4:10)
3. Feast for the Wolves (5:11)
4. Self Medicating (6:23)
5. Depraved Indifference (4:26)
6. Slow Burn (6:56)
7. Section 8 (2:26)
8. Walking Dead (4:45)
9. Dark Days (5:18)
10. Let Me Die (4:59)
11. Wish (Bonus Nine Inch Nails cover) (3:43)

Reviewed by on October 18, 2011

"Exodus vocalist Rob Dukes has been with the band for years, yet has never shown the sides of himself that are brought to light with Generation Kill."

Exodus vocalist Rob Dukes has been with the band for years, yet has never shown the sides of himself that are brought to light with Generation Kill. A thrash metal act on the surface, there’s a lot to process from Dukes and company on their first album “Red White and Blood.” “Red White and Blood” is a concept album about a soldier who turns into a killer from his traumatic experiences on the battlefield. It’s a hefty subject matter, but this is no Exodus-lite affair; rather, it’s a separate entity that outshines some of that band’s recent material.

That has a lot to do with Dukes. As a vocalist with Exodus, he has a piercing bark that lacks definition and variety. It’s appropriate for the music that Exodus plays, and won’t get him recognized as some high-class singer. However, “Red White and Blood” is his shining achievement as a vocalist, employing a multitude of ranges nobody could have pictured him trying. The acoustic-driven ballad “Dark Days” has Dukes going off with melodic crooning.

Embarking on a major risk like that could have hurt Generation Kill’s chances as a legitimate band in the eyes of Exodus fans, but Dukes doesn’t disappoint. In fact, “Red White and Blood” is the best vocal performance of his career. The confidence in his voice, whether it’s his usual harsh style or testing out a favorable melody, is never in doubt. There is an abundance of acoustic guitars used, especially on the aforementioned “Dark Days” and the lengthy intro and outro to the depressing “Self Medicating.”

Generation Kill does not skimp on the thrash though, making sure to be concise in their delivery, a flaw with much of Exodus’s recent work. “Hate” begins with an unassuming acoustic intro a la ‘80s Metallica, before turning the anger dial up to about 15. The title track takes on a twisted patriotic stance, an anthem for the unstable. As Dukes yells, “Roadside bombings all you got? Turn your fucking city into a parking lot,” it’s clear that this soldier seems to enjoy the violence around him. It’s a prelude to his mental collapse later on in the album.

Like “Self Medicating” and “Dark Days,” “Slow Burn” is atypical for taking a sludge metal sound. It’s almost seven minutes long, yet has that all-important build-up towards a shocking conclusion with some of the fastest riffs on the album. That tempo is lost on the following interlude “Section 8,” a skippable jargon of spoken words and lifeless riffs. It would be the worst track on here, if the horrid cover of Nine Inch Nails “Wish” didn't end the record.

With Generation Kill, Dukes aligned himself with great musicians, including the lead-happy guitarists Lou Lehman and Jason Trenczer. The quintet puts out a great debut with “Red White and Blood.” The concept is sound, and is supported by the usual tactics Dukes has been known to side with, along with a few worthwhile twists. It’s not as stubborn or padded to death like the last two Exodus albums, and hits many avenues beyond thrash metal.

Highs: Exodus vocalist Rod Dukes pushes his vocal range, a few really killer thrash cuts, surprising amount of variety, much tighter than recent Exodus albums

Lows: A pointless interlude in "Section 8," unnecessary cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Wish"

Bottom line: "Red White and Blood" is a great thrash metal debut that at times outshines the recent output from Exodus.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)