Exhorder - _Slaughter in the Vatican_
(Metal Mind Productions, 2008)
by: Quentin Kalis (9.5 out of 10)
1990. A time when the world stood on the cusp of a new world order. A time when nu-metal was nonexistent. A time when Roadrunner was the peerless leader in metal, before being corrupted by the desire for a quick buck, a time when its roster was littered with death and thrash acts (Pestilence, Annihilator, Obituary, to name but a few) not Junkie XL, 3 Inches of Blood or whatever rubbish they produce now for spoilt mallrats.

Exhorder were one of those bands that were on Roadrunner well before the decay set in. Originally released in 1990, Poland's Metal Mind Productions (who have released many other but long forgotten Roadrunner classics) have re-released Exhorder's debut in a limited run of 2000 copies. Exhorder only ever released two studio albums (_The Law_ is their 1992 sophomore effort) and split up far too early, but I'm nonplussed at news of their reunion -- I doubt a bunch of middle-aged guys will be able to recreate the youthful vitality and anger. The production is top notch -- Scott Burns was the helm -- no big surprise for an early '90s Roadrunner release.

The album also exhibits how Exhorder matured as songwriters since their demo days. Just compare the punkish "Anal Lust" (no lyrics for this song, but the subject matter speaks for itself, although the claim "too brutal too print" seems incongruous against the cover of the pope being dragged to the guillotine), their first ever song, against a more complex number such as "Death in Vain". Vocalist Kyle Thomas sounds like anger management therapy classes have not paid off, and occasionally sings very fast, most likely inspired by Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys). This is brimming with youthful anger; one wonders how they could possibly recapture this amidst constant rumours of their reunion.

Basically, this is an essential slice of thrash history that has been kindly re-released by a label that still shows an interest in metal. Get your copy while you still can.

Contact: http://www.metalmind.com.pl

(article published 8/22/2008)


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