Exumer - _Possessed by Fire_ / _Rising From the Sea_
(Rock Machine, 1998)
by: Matthias Noll (9 out of 10)
The German trash metal attack of the mid eighties was spearheaded by legendary bands like Destruction, Kreator and Sodom. Hard on the heels of these highly influential bands came a second wave of bands like Assassin, Darkness, Deathrow and Exumer. While from today's perspective most of these later bands failed to create any worthy output and usually suffered from a poor singer and uninspired song material, that's not the case with the first Exumer album, _Possessed by Fire_. Produced by Harris Johns (Kreator, Pestilence, Sodom, etc.) and originally released in 1986, this album still is an outstanding example of 80's quality thrash metal. Exumer's style is mostly fast, aggressive and hard hitting, with memorable choruses, impressive breaks and supported by another great production from Mr. Johns. Vocalist Mem also manages to set this album apart from others with his intense vocal style, which sometimes reminds me of Paul Bailoff, and fortunately doesn't sound too "German". While being not as over the top and raw as Kreator's _Pleasure to Kill_, this album is one of Germany's finest moments. Featured on the same CD is Exumer's second output _Rising From the Sea_, which saw the band returning without vocalist Mem, who had been kicked out of the band in the meantime. Unfortunately, the band seems to have listened too much to Slayer's _Reign in Blood_ between the two records (not that it's a bad thing listening to the best record ever). New vocalist, native Hawaiian Paul Arakaki, who was now fronting the band, just sounded like another Araya clone and also gone was part of the originality and quality of their song material with only the opener "Winds of Death" and the title track coming close to the standards the first record had set. Still, this is enjoyable stuff, but also leaves me wondering what Exumer could have achieved with the original line up. If you're into 80's thrash metal, check this out!

(article published 1/10/1998)

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