Exodus - _The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A_
(Nuclear Blast, 2007)
by: Jackie Smit (
Can we all agree that Exodus' decision to dust off their instruments has turned into one of the more successful reunions of the past five years? Okay, so maybe it wasn't always a given; their first effort in twelve years, _Tempo of the Damned_, did skirt the threadbare lining of mediocrity to a significant degree. But 2005's _Shovel Headed Kill Machine_ was a bona fide contender in every respect. It was armed with enough killer riffs to fill five full-lengths, and with the new blood in Rob Dukes, Gary Holt had found the abrasive roar that his serrated-edge shredding had been lacking since the passing of Paul Baloff.Unsurprisingly, "abrasive" remains the operative noun on _The Atrocity Exhibition_. The first of a duo of releases, Exodus' eighth studio effort shows no signs of fatigue, and certainly doesn't let on that most of its participants had already established themselves among the thrash metal glitterati by the mid-Eighties. Instead, the album spews its vitriol in a most lucid fashion from the start and very rarely lets up. Andy Sneap's production combines equal parts overdrive with a bottom end that will shatter plate glass windows with ease, while the album's opener "Riot Act" serves as an appropriately bruising opener. Once again, Rob Dukes' Rottweiler snarl energises Holt's six-string sadism in ways that his predecessor could only dream, and with Tom Hunting back behind the drum kit, the signature Exodus eighths make a welcome and frequent return.Not that _The Atrocity Exhibition_ could ever be mistaken as a ham-fisted attempt to dress old as new. For the duration of the album, Exodus tear through each track with the verve and tenacity that would put musicians half their age to shame, and even if at times some songs suffer from being slightly too long, the onslaught remains utterly relentless and consistently mesmerizing. With a coda as devastating as "The Garden of Bleeding" and "Bedlam 1-2-3", the next instalment of _The Atrocity Exhibition_ can't come soon enough.
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