Exhorder are back!
It’s been too long, for some fans it’s so long awaited they thought it would never happen. After the rampant success of their appearance at Bloodstock in 2018 the band have returned to the studio and are about to drop their first studio album since 1992’s ‘The Law’. But questions remain unanswered; Will the wait be worth it? Can Exhorder replicate the sound that made them pioneers in this genre?
Back in the day they pioneered the groove orientated thrash sound, generalised as ‘groove metal’. The band are the godfathers of the sound that made Pantera, amongst others, famous beyond recognition.
The new album ‘Mourn The Southern Skies’ opens with the bartering ram that is ‘My Time’. There is no groove about this song, it is an out and out thrash assault of a tune. Backed by uncompromising lyrics this is the start to the album that was needed and marks that Exhorder are back and a force to be refined with.
As the album progresses the grove element seeps in. Less a thrash assault, but still robustly aggressive and on point. Kyle Thomas’ vocals a rasping throaty sit perfectly atop the majestic riff mastery of Vinnie LaBella and Marzi Montazeri. Tracks like ‘Asunder’ and ‘Hallowed Sound’ demonstrate why the band became the forefathers of their own genre and how so many were influenced by the great foresight the band had.
Thought provoking lyrics throughout the album don’t hold back as the band put forth a straight up, no bullshit message along with their aggressive musical tone. ‘Yesterday’s Bones’ slows the pace a little, it’s heavier, darker and dripping in the NOLA sound the likes of Crowbar and Down have made famous. Thunderous bass lines reverberate through your soul; dark, sinister and grabbing hold of you.
The pace of the album fluctuates from the slow dark numbers like ‘Yesterday’s Bones’ through outright thrash fueled numbers like the opener and ‘Ripping Flesh’ the latter of which is out and out old school head banging goodness which any true thrash outfit would be proud of.
The album finishes with the title track ‘Mourn the Southern Skies’ a nine minute epic. Starting with rainfall, the initially acoustic number see’s melodic vocals delivered along with soft guitars lavishing that distinctive NOLA twang. From there the song builds, pace fluctuating as the volume increases, no longer acoustic but dragging you into the story of their recording. It’s a beast of a song that rounds the new album off nicely, the proverbial cherry upon the cake if you like.
For those Exhorder fans out there from back in the day this IS the album you’ve been waiting for. For newer fans it’s a different perspective on a genre you are already very familiar with. Either way you look at this Exhorder are back with a bang and long may they reign.