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Exhorder - "Mourn The Southern Skies" (CD)

Exhorder - "Mourn The Southern Skies" CD cover image

"Mourn The Southern Skies" track listing:

1. My Time
2. Asunder
3. Hallowed Sounds
4. Beware the Wolf
5. Yesterday’s Bones
6. All She Wrote
7. Rumination
8. The Arms of Man
9. Ripping Flesh
10. Mourn the Southern Skies

Reviewed by on September 19, 2019

"This new Exhorder is more focused on groove and bluesy riffing rather than the fierceness and steel-toe boot stomp that the previous Exhorder did to perfection."

Exhorder was on the cusp of thrash greatness in 1992. Their incredibly successful and brutal debut album, “Slaughter in the Vatican,” pushed expectations for their sophomore release though the roof. Unfortunately, “The Law” was released during March of the same year as other genre defining albums such as Pantera’s “Vulgar Display of Power,” “Images and Words” from Dream Theater and the wildly successful and genre stamping “Dirt” from Alice in Chains. In so many words, there was a sort of revolution and upheaval in the world of heavy music and “The Law” was pretty much a non-factor in the grand scheme in all of it. They say timing is everything, and with that being said, I predict if “Mourn The Southern Skies” was released in 1992, it would have been more relevant and successful than “The Law” was.

“Mourn The Southern Skies” comes off like an album put out by a super talented new band that had permission to use the name Exhorder. There are only two original founding members in the current line-up (Kyle Thomas and Vinnie La Bella) and a lot of time has passed since 1992. This new Exhorder is more focused on groove and bluesy riffing rather than the fierceness and steel-toe boot stomp that the previous Exhorder did to perfection. Some of the “fuck you” attitude from “Slaughter in the Vatican” shows up during the first single off the album, “My Time,” but that’s pretty much it.

I’m sure that some of you are reading this review and starting to think that I’m going to trash this album…well that’s not the case at all. In fact, this is a very good album and there will be plenty of others that love it. For me, well, it just doesn’t sound like the Exhorder of yesteryear and I was hoping for more speedball adrenaline rush in their sound. Exhorder reinvented themselves and this is what the New Orleans thrash legends sound like now. Who dat!

The musicianship and production on “Mourn The Southern Skies” is hands down excellent and some of the best I’ve heard during 2019’s hurricane of terrific releases. If you’re a technical, boogie riffing type fan, you’re going to love the guitar playing on this album. If you’re a Kyle Thomas fan, this is business as usual from one of the most underrated metal vocalists of all time. And, if you love Sasha Horn’s skins battering, this is also an album for you. Exhorder took their time coming up with the perfect sound to compliment their all-star musician line-up and it shows on all ten tracks.

This year has been eerily similar to 1992 as far as epic heavy music releases are concerned and I’m predicting that same situation is going to happen to Exhorder again where “Mourn The Southern Skies” falls off the radar rather quickly albeit being a terrific album. If there was such a thing as a time machine and Exhorder could swap the release of “The Law” with “Mourn The Southern Skies” in 2019, I’d be saying this is one of the heaviest releases of the year, unfortunately that is not possible and is not the case. I hope I am proven wrong.

Highs: Exhorder is back from a lengthy hiatus and has released one of the best groove metal albums of the year so far.

Lows: “Mourn The Southern Skies” is nothing like “Slaughter in The Vatican” or “The Law,” so if that’s what you were hoping for, you’re out of luck.

Bottom line: “Mourn The Southern Skies” is a terrific groove metal album. If you were expecting an album closer to “Slaughter in The Vatican” or “The Law,” I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

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)