Exodus - "Blood In, Blood Out" (CD)
"Blood In, Blood Out" track listing:
1. Black 13
2. Blood In, Blood Out
3. Collateral Damage
4. Salt the Wound
5. Body Harvest
7. Wrapped in the Arms of Rage
8. My Last Nerve
10. Honor Killings
11. Food for the Worms
Reviewed by Diamond Oz on October 16, 2014
Back in 2007, when Onslaught released comeback album, "Killing Peace," there were a few people complaining that the record sounded too much like the material Exodus had been churning out since its own reformation, though most agreed it was still a good album. Fast forward seven years and Exodus has launched a comeback of its own, only instead of returning from a hiatus, it's the band's most well known vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza that's rejoined the fold. Ten years on from Exodus' last output with Zetro, "Tempo of the Damned," how has the group progressed? Well sadly, the answer is the band hasn't. In a way, the tables have turned as the new album, "Blood In, Blood Out," sounds more like Onslaught than it does Exodus, and that's as much praise as is worth bestowing upon the album.
The record starts with "Black 13," which at first sounds like a very generic intro track. Eventually it kicks in to gear somewhat and after a while we finally hear the return of Zetro... who doesn't sound very good quite frankly. The shrieking, witch-like vocals on display are quite off-putting and the song itself lasts for too long. Though the album starts with one of the weakest tracks on display, it is succeeded by one of the best, in the form of the title track. It has something of a crossover flavour to it, being seemingly influenced by hardcore music.
Perhaps the only other highlight song, "Salt the Wound" comes after the mediocre "Collateral Damage," displaying a high energy approach with some really catchy riffs and a guest performance by former member and Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett. Despite it being one of the best songs on the record, it's once again let down by some distracting vocal work.
Unfortunately, those two songs seemed like the only ones worth citing as "good songs," as so many others seem to fall short of the mark one way or the other. Some, such as,"BTK," sound promising but are deflated by tedious moments. Then there are tracks like "Numb", which are poor by the standards of a band this renowned. Three of the first five songs seem a little over reliant on gang vocals, which doesn't always suit thrash and more or less the rest of the album is too generic to even really comment upon. "Wrapped in the Arms of Rage" and "My Last Nerve" are nothing more than bog standard and while "Honor Killings" has some relatively interesting moments, it's still nowhere near remarkable, save for the arguably Islamaphobic lyrics. The album finishes with the bipolar "Food for the Worms," which again has some decent moments, but keeps collapsing, leaving the song feeling like a meandering mess.
It's bizarre to think that a band with the ferocity of Exodus could create an album so bland. Though "Blood In, Blood Out" and "Salt the Wound" could be put forward as a defense of sorts, there doesn't seem to be one stand out track on the album. It feels like the record came out too soon, having been released only four months after it was announced that Zetro would be taking his old job back from Rob Dukes, which frankly shows as there are some songs clearly written with Dukes' style in mind. Perhaps it would have been better to wait a little while longer and create new music with more input from the singer, as quite honestly, there isn't a single song here worth rushing "Blood In, Blood Out" into the stores. It's perhaps the weakest album Exodus has released in a long time and will not sit up there with the big hitters in the group's own catalogue.
Highs: "Salt the Wound" and the title track.
Lows: "Black 13," "Numb," and the overall feeling that this album does not come close to the band's high standards.
Bottom line: A disappointing album from one of the most respected names in the genre. Exodus is a long way from finished, but this record does weaken confidence in the future a little.
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