"Blood In, Blood Out"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Unless you've been living in a North Korean labor camp, you probably know that Zetro Sousa is back as lead singer of Exodus. Considering many of the nasty things that were said, that is something of a surprise. But it's a welcome one. I'm not one of the hardcores that hated the Rob Dukes years. I don't think you can deny the brutality and force of Exodus in that era. But hearng Zetro's nasal, hateful sneers is like the return of an old friend.

Not many old friends are gonna kick your ass like Zetro does here, though. This ranks as maybe the most vitriolic work of his lengthy career. As for the album itself, I would describe it as the perfect meeting point between "Impact Is Imminent" and "Shovel Headed Killing Machine". If that doesn't strike your fancy, go back and listen to "Bonded By Blood" for the 5855th time. There is definitely more of an oldschool thrash feeling to "Blood In, Blood Out", an attempt to reach back to the earliest days of the band. The songs are shorter and more direct....none of the massive crawling epics on the last couple of Exodus albums with Dukes. But this album also retains the ultra-thick and brutal sound of the Dukes years and there's no reason fans of the newer Exodus should dislike the record. They couldn't have done a much better job of bridging the gap between the Sousa and Dukes eras.

You might be thrown off by the synthesizer tones that open up "Black 13" but it won't be long before you are flattened by crushing riffs that sound like the musical equivalent of being hit with a concrete block. Then things speed up to a thrashing holocaust, Sousa does his evil thing and there's no looking back from there. The title track follows with crippling velocity.

Now to be honest, there are songs that sound a LOT like past Exodus works and even like each other. A feast of challenging songwriting, this is not. But then, the boys have always described themselves as the AC/DC of thrash metal and that description is truer than ever here. Another one of my favorites is "My Last Nerve", which definitely reminds me a lot of the "Impact Is Imminent" days. "Numb" is a super-crunchy hatefest where Zetro's bile is like a physical force that hits you in the face. The middle of this song slams like a intense as anything the band has ever done. "Honor Killings" sounds like the sequel to "Children of a Worthless God", both lyrically and musically, while "Food For The Worms" brings things to a hellish close.

Exodus' music is admittedly limited, but within the realm of thrash metal, they prove their superiority time and time again. "Blood In, Blood Out" is one hell of a "welcome back" party for Mr. Sousa...don't dare miss it!!!