Exodus was destined for great things in 1985 and was the leaders of the Bay Area thrash movement and an inspiration to many bands. They were formed as a HR/HM band in 1981 and were getting progressively heavier. They had contributed founding member Kirk Hammet to Metallica (who had taken his guitars and songs over), recorded an EP called A Lesson In Violence in 1984 and had recorded Bonded By Blood in 1984 - released with much delay - which was an underground hit. The band's razor-sharp delivery, original vocals and Bay Area reputation had the band pegged for a Metallica-like future. The band supported Slayer and Venom on the road. Then Baloff developed a temper and reportedly a habit and was kicked out. He didn't last in his other bands. His replacement (who probably later regretted leaving pre-Testament band Legacy to join) was an acquired taste and song titles like Toxic Waltz were certainly nothing to build a career on. Still, a major label came a calling - not before giving Combat one more album due to Exodus' contract - and waved a big wad of cash to sign the act. Capitol Records had acquired one of the 'big four' of thrash metal for a reported $1 million (US). No AC/DC cover could save Exodus though and the gang called it a day. Of course, later both Capitol and Combat squeezed one more album each from an act which was no longer with them. Despite evidence to the contrary, then-Century Media A&R signed the reformed band assuming a fan base and put them on tour. The band played in the USA, South America and at the Dynamo. Friendship only went so far, however; and the band balked at recording a studio album while immersed in monetary negotiations in a now said A&R-free Century Media. Still Exodus intended to record in 2002, this despite the sudden death of original vocalist Baloff who had rejoined the thrashers. The band instead opted for Steve Souza. Souza did not last long in the band either and the rest of the band begun searching for a new singer as of late 2002.
The band spent the summer of 2003 recording Tempo Of The Damned at Tsunami Studio in Northern California with producer Andy Sneap. The record was first announced for the Exodus management-run CCC Records, but this plan was later altered. The band had seemingly settled on Souza once again for vocals. It was announced in late summer that the band has signed with Nuclear Blast Records and the next album would be out in the spring of 2004.
Tempo Of The Damned was issued in the winter of 2004 to a fair amount of hype. The band had also shot videos for the songs War Is My Shepherd and Throwing Down. European live dates would soon follow. Gary Holt and the band's manager Steve Warner formed a project called Drug Pig in 2004.
Exodus had a major line-up change in the summer of 2004 with the firing of lead singer, Steve “Zetro” Souza due to internal strife including money and touring problems. Due to complications with replacement singers, the band also had no choice but to postpone its South American dates. Steve Esquivel of Skinlab joined the act for shows in support of Megadeth. The band also utilized Matt Harvey of Exhumed and singer Chuck Billy of Testament for one show each. The principles for Torrid Records announced in late 2004 that they would issue a special 20th anniversary edition of the band's 1985 debut album Bonded By Blood.
Singer Rob Dukes, a relative unknown, joined the band in early 2005. A DVD documentary of the Tempo Of The Damned record release show from March, 2004, entitled Live At The DNA, was out in 2005. Following the recruitment of Rob Dukes on vocals, the thrashers recruited drummer Paul Bostaph to replace the ailing Hunting. The band was working on a new album at Trident studio. Guitarist Rick Hunolt joined the list of people who have left the band in the summer of 2005. The new line-up, featuring Gary Holt, drummer Paul Bostaph, new singer Rob Dukes, bassist Jack Gibson and new guitarist Lee Altus would record and issue Shovel Headed Kill Machine on October 4th through Nuclear Blast Records. The band was part of X-Mass Festivals 2005 tour in Europe with Occult, Onslaught and others. Exodus, Subzero and Full Blown Chaos (The Classic Struggle dropped off following the injury of drummer Tyler Solnosky) toured North America in April, 2006 using the North American Abomination 2006 monicker. Souza co-founded a band called Dublin Death Patrol with several notable Bay Area musicians in 2006. Also, there were Testament’s Chuck Billy and Machine Head’s Phil Demmel. Drummer Tom Hunting returned in February, 2007 having apparently sorted out his problems. Paul Bostaph was out of the group and seeking a new gig. The group picked The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A as the title for its 2007 album, which was due in late October through Nuclear Blast Records. Producer Andy Sneap recorded the CD. The band also issued a new DVD independently. Entitled Double Live Dynamo! The DVD features sets from 1985 and 1997. Exodus signed for further albums with Nuclear Blast Records in 2008. The band was next rerecording its 1985 album, Bonded By Blood, with Rob Dukes on vocals. Zetro Souza joined Tent in 2008, which was the band of SYL/Zimmers Hole man Jed Simon. Tent was writing and recording in San Francisco for an album that would be released through Century Media Records. The band would play the entire 1985 debut album, Bonded By Blood, at the group’s November, 2008 shows in Seattle and Los Angeles. Session drummer Nick Barker would fill in for Exodus' Tom Hunting during the Americans’ upcoming European tour of 2009. The band claimed Hunting is on a Mexican vacation then. The band announced it would issue a live DVD called Live At Wacken… in 2009. Generation Kill was a new crossover band featuring singer Rob Dukes, MOD’s Rob Moschetti and Mortician drummer Sam Inzerra. The band had a song called, Hate. Exodus, in the meantime, was touring and hitting Japan, China and Taiwan in the summer. Rob Dukes embarked on his third cross-country trip by bike in 2009. He departed from New York City on Sunday, August 30th. The band was forced to cancel its Beijing, China show at the Mao Live venue on September 25th ostensibly due to visa issues. The band was planning on recording a new album with British producer Andy Sneap in November. Exodus subsequently named its ninth studio album Exhibit B: The Human Condition. The band was recording in Northern California with Andy Sneap. The album was expected to be released in the spring of 2010. Shovel Headed Tour Machine: Live At Wacken & Other Assorted Atrocities, Exodus’ new DVD was released in North America on January 12th, 2010. Former singer Steve "Zetro" Souza rejoined Exodus at its February 8th concert at the Grand Ballroom in San Francisco and sang the tune Toxic Waltz with the group. The band’s Exhibit B: The Human Condition album was out in May. Exodus played two album release shows with Heathen in Los Angeles and San Francisco before the band flied to Europe to tour the festival circuit. The shows were on Friday, June 11th in Los Angeles at Key Club with Heathen, Bonded By Blood plus two local openers and on Saturday, June 12th in San Francisco at Slim's with Heathen, Anvil Chorus and Passive Aggressive. Exhibit B: The Human Condition, the ninth studio album from Exodus, has sold over 4,600 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan and has debuted at #114 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart in the USA. As a 'thank-you' to its Southern California fan base Exodus offered a shirt at the Los Angeles record release show for Exhibit B: The Human Condition on Friday, June 11th at The Key Club in Hollywood. Stated guitarist/songwriter Gary Holt: “We are offering a limited ‘Satanic Hispanic’ shirt in honor of our very loyal and insane Latino fans! This shirt is really cool and I hope our fans will dig the fuck out of it!”
Former Exodus singer Steve "Zetro" Souza and producer Walter Morgan (promoter of the Thrash Of The Titans 2001 benefit concert) formed "the world's premiere AC/DC tribute band" in 2010. AC/DZ would also feature guitarist Rob Toto, Jon Allen (Sadus and Testament) on drums and Elena Luciano Repetto (Bomb And Scary, Mother Earth, Imagika) on bass. AC/DZ was negotiating with Old School Metal Records to release a full-length album in 2011. Former Exodus singer Steve "Zetro" Souza quit Dublin Death Patrol in late 2010 after someone in the band repeatedly made passes at his girlfriend Vickie. In the meantime, Exodus played its first concert in China capital city Beijing's Mao Live House on September 23rd, 2010. Exodus would open for Iron Maiden on April 10th, 2011 at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile. At the same time, Gary Holt was recruited by Slayer to temporarily replace Jeff Hannemann, who was ostensibly incapacitated by a spider bite, for planned shows. Exodus participated in a metal/Country split single called Hammer And Life. The other side featured someone called Bob Wayne. After being booked to open for Iron Maiden in Chile Exodus was next booked to open for Judas Priest in Poland in August of 2011 at the Metal Hammer festival. Cannibal Corpse guitarist Pat O'Brien would fill in for Exodus' Gary Holt when Holt said goodbye to Slayer in Europe to play with his own band Exodus at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile on April 4th. Holt had been filling in for Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman since the tour had kicked off February 26th in Australia. Slayer guitarist Kerry King joined Exodus on the stage on August 6th, 2011 at the WaMu Theatre in Seattle where the band played the Exodus song Strike Of The Beast to close the set. Gary Holt of Exodus had been filling in for Jeff Hannemann of Slayer. Sepultura, Exodus, Heathen and Destruction were touring Europe using the Thrashfest Classics monicker. Sepultura was playing songs from its Beneath The Remains, Arise and Chaos A.D. albums. The tour would take place in November and December. Exodus, Heathen and Death Angel were among the bands that played at a celebration for Exodus guitarist Gary Holt and his girlfriend Lisa Perticone's wedding. The event took place on Saturday, September 24th, 2011 at Avalon in Santa Clara, California. Generation Kill, the new band fronted by singer Rob Dukes, released its debut album Red White and Blood on September 27th, 2011 in North America through Season Of Mist. In 2011, Coffin Hunter was a bluegrass project featuring members Jack Gibson and Tom Hunting. The band was touring the USA. Metallica and former Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett, former Exodus guitarist Rick Hunolt and original Exodus bassist Jeff Andrews joined the line-up of Exodus on stage on February 4th, 2012 at a special event marking the tenth anniversary of former Exodus singer Paul Baloff's death. Called Bonded By Baloff: A Decade Of Remembrance, the show took place at the Oakland Metro Operahouse and featured appearances by Possessed, Forbidden and Heathen, among others. Former Exodus guitarist Rick Hunolt was standing in for his former band-mate Gary Holt in 2012 who in turn was filling in for Jeff Hannemann in Slayer. The arrangement was to last for the rest of the summer. Exodus was rejoined by former guitarist Rick Hunolt on stage on December 20th, 2013 at Slim's in San Francisco for the songs, The Toxic Waltz and Strike Of The Beast. The band joined Carcass and Death Angel at former guitarist Kirk Hammett's first annual horror convention. Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett joined his former band Exodus on stage on Friday, February 7th, 2014 at his first annual horror convention, Kirk Von Hammett's Fear FestEviL, which took place at The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. The band played Exodus’ Piranha and the Blue Öyster Cult song Godzilla. Exodus signed with Breaking Bands LLC and The Agency Group. Testament singer and co-manager Chuck Billy, Adrenaline PR CEO Maria Ferrero and one-time Megaforce Records and Crazed Management, owned Breaking Bands LLC owners Jon and Marsha Zazula.
Steve Souza, who sang for Exodus from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004, was back in June of 2014 and Rob Dukes was out. The latter man has been with the group since 2005. The band had been in the studio recording a new album. Souza was in Hatriot, but had been lobbying to get back into Exodus after walking away from the thrash metal act. Dukes would have to focus on Generation Kill. Exodus would release a new album, Blood In, Blood Out, on October 14th through Nuclear Blast. It featured the return of former vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza who replaced Rob Dukes. Kirk Hammet guested on the record. Souza and Chuck Billy were both in Dublin Death Patrol. An Exodus fan called James Evans was arrested in Greenville, Kentucky in the summer of 2014 for "terroristic threats" after posting the lyrics to the Exodus’ song Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer). He was released after eight days, but had to still return for further psychological evaluations. According to Exodus, the Virginia Tech massacre perpetrated by Seung-Hui Cho inspired the song. Exodus fan Gustavo Molina died of a heart attack after the band's show in Buenos Aires, Argentina on October 9th 2014. The band’s Blood In Blood Out album sold just shy of 8,800 copies in the United States Of America to debut at position No. 38 on The Billboard 200 chart. Testament and Exodus came together for the Dark Roots Of Thrash II tour in 2015. The tour would cover North America for five weeks starting April 1 in San Francisco, California. Exodus was opening for King Diamond in the autumn of 2015 in the USA. The band would embark on a European headlining tour in February of 2016. Guitarist Gary Holt had a custom ESP guitar, which was designed with Holt's own blood by Vincent Castiglia. The prototype was not going into production. Exodus would headline the Battle Of The Bays European tour in October and November with Obituary, Prong and Australia’s King Parrot opening. Exodus was rejoined by former guitarist Rick Hunolt and former singer Rob Dukes on stage for its July 8th 2017 concert in San Francisco, California. The band also played a show on the 7th albeit with its current line-up. Killian On Command: An Evening Of Vio-lence featured musicians from Testament, Exodus, Mordred, Death Angel, Forbidden and Vio-Lence playing only Vio-Lence material. The band existed between 1985 through 1992. The show was a benefit for Vio-Lence singer Sean Killian who was diagnosed with liver Cirrhosis. Exodus and Municipal Waste were touring in support of the new season of the latter’s animated series Mr. Pickles in 2018. Exodus was to headline the 2018 edition of the MTV Headbangers Ball Tour in Europe that November. Gary Holt was missing the autumn 2018 leg of the Slayer European tour in order to be home with his dying father. He was replaced for the shows by former Machine Head and Vio-Lence guitarist Phil Demmel. To commemorate its fortieth anniversary the band issued the single No Love (Live At Day In The Dirt 1984), which was recorded live in California. Former band guitarist Rock Hunolt joined the band to perform several older songs during the Metal Allegiance April 20th concert in San Francisco, California. The concert followed a screening of a music documentary called Murder In The Front Row: The San Francisco Bay Area Thrash Metal Story. Testament, Exodus and Death Angel would tour Europe together using The Bay Strikes Back 2020 monicker. The band was to play two sets at 2020’s 70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise One was a ‘best-of’ and another commemorated the 35th anniversary of its debut album, Bonded By Blood. Exodus’ Persona Non Grata album was out through Nuclear Blast Records in the summer. Drummer Tom Hunting was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the stomach in mid-2021. He was receiving chemotherapy. He was American so had set up a fundraiser. The release of the Persona Non Grata album was postponed to the autumn. Testament, Exodus and Death Angel announced they would use The Bay Strikes Back monicker to tour the USA in autumn 2021.
EXODUS - BONDED BY BLOOD - TORRID
Exodus' 1985 thrash opus Bonded By Blood has a bit of a legendary status among thrash fans. One of the most influential albums of the thrash movement and probably one of the most pure metal albums ever recorded, Bonded By Blood is an album that every thrash kid should know. It's a step below albums like Rust In Peace and Master Of Puppets, but for the vast majority of thrash you can't do much better.
Actually, if you really look at Bonded By Blood, it isn't that amazing an album. It's a bit repetitive, and Paul Baloff (however metal he may be) isn't a particularly good singer. What Bonded By Blood lacks in finesse, it makes up for in charm, which is something most thrash lacks. The song A Lesson In Violence contains the lyric "GET ON YOUR KNEES AND BOW...TO LEARN A LESSON IN VIOLENCE!" One of the songs is entitled And Then There Were None. Paul Baloff was simply the most metal person alive.
And the album contains some sublime moments. The aforementioned And Then There Were None is a phenomenal song, more mid-paced, with a great hook. A Lesson In Violence and Piranha are two of the greatest thrash metal songs ever recorded. Deliver Us To Evil is a seven-minute epic that's actually really good. But the all-time best is the title track. I believe that it is the greatest headbanging song ever recorded, and I say that without hyperbole. This whole album fucking COMMANDS you to headbang, and the title track is like a metal orgasm. The chorus contains the immortal line "BANG YOUR HEAD AGAINST THE STAGE!" and anything that tells you to bang your head into inanimate objects is worth listening to.
I think what makes Bonded By Blood better then the other zillions of thrash albums it inspired is variety. So many thrash albums are just the same song over and over, but Bonded By Blood has definite, different songs and that makes it so much better. It comes off as a whole album, not a collection of songs that could have been written in three seconds.
The album does have its flaws. It lacks the polish and variety to match up with true masterpieces of the metal world. As I said, Baloff is honestly a pretty bad singer, although I love him to death. And the album is kinda cheesy ("Someone's 'bout to die, and that SOMEONE...ISSSS YOOOOOU!"). Honestly, what it comes down to is this. Your enjoyment of Bonded By Blood will be determined by your enjoyment of metal. The more you love the culture of metal, and denim and leather, and ripping guitar solos, and the violence of it all, the more you'll love Bonded By Blood. If you don't count yourself as a metalhead, this album won't really appeal to you. But if you're a thrash fan, then Exodus' Bonded By Blood is an album you need to hear -- not just to hear what's inspired them all, but also to hear one of the great thrash albums of all time.
(Also, Piranha is an insanely good song). - Max V.
EXODUS - TEMPO OF THE DAMNED - NUCLEAR BLAST
One has to be cautious when it comes to 'classic' bands which decide to reform. Most of the returning metal acts have less to do with having something to say artistically and more with a foolish belief that the band can regain lost glory and make some fast dough in the process. What's more, the wave of reforming acts is a hindrance to the future development of heavy metal. One less young metal band will obtain a recording contract for every band that decides to reform and duly sign with a label eager to cash in on the name-recognition of the said group.
Much to my surprise the come-back album of Exodus is a good one. The band has smoothed the rough edges of its Bay Area thrash sound, updated the production value of its work and managed to put together quite a respectable CD with Tempo Of The Damned. The album begins with two great songs. Scar Spangled Banner is an intense opening statement with intelligent lyrics. These particular Americans have seen the light it seems. War Is My Sheppard (a George War Bush quotation?) follows and is a worthy contender. Shroud Of Urine - another great play on words - has an impressive guitar rhythm and leads courtesy of the celebrated H-Team - guitarists Holt and Hunolt. The same is true for Culling The Herd with the brilliant line 'When will everyone realize/that people should be sterilized.' Second-choice singer Steve Souza varies his nasal voice here which is not necessarily a positive. The song sports seriously splendid guitars again. Although a special mention must go to the fantastic drum roll in the middle of the song. It is time to mention the rhythm section at this point. Aided by the powerful engineering of Andy Sneap, new bassist Jack Gibson creates a dominant bass sound that is often reminiscent of Overkill. Returning drummer Tom Hunting takes advantage of the sound and shows off with a convincing barrage of precision drumming. The band has also dusted off a twenty-year old song called Impaler for this album. The song obviously has a vintage feel to it, although the speedy mid-section is certainly a great interlude.
The silly and stupefying band photo aside, Tempo Of The Damned is a good album whose most important accomplishment is signifying how Exodus still deserves to be around in 2004. - Ali "The Metallian"
EXODUS - SHOVEL HEADED KILL MACHINE - NUCLEAR BLAST
With a line-up presenting three out of five new members and a nonsensical album title going up against the excellence of the band's last album, Tempo Of The Damned, the certitude that the new Exodus would again hit the spot was precarious. The depiction of a tank as cover art was also suspect. Marduk, Impaled Nazarene, Enthroned, Centinex and others have, after all, recently used that exact motif. After repeated listens one has to say that Shovel Headed Kill Machine is certainly above average and worthy of recommendation, but not quite reaching the same heights as the band's return album of 2004.
Exodus' new album and line-up directs the Bay Area thrashers to a more brutal direction which, while still in the band's general musical scope, even touch death metal territory. The vocals of new kid Rob Dukes is sick and is as close to previous singer Steve Souza as Gary Holt probably could find. Dukes comes across as Souza, Exhorder's Kyle Thomas and Overkill's Blitz rolled into one. The music is Exodus gone heavier, early Exhorder and deathly. Age obviously is not adversely affecting this bunch. Deathamphetamine, for instance, is over eight minutes in length - if that title itself and others like I Am Abomination, Now Thy Death Day Come and the title track did not speak volumes. Exodus' trademark formula of a heavy thrashing rhythm topped by a fluid solo is still intact. Better examples are opener Raze or the song Altered Boy.
Barring Candlemass sensational return last year, Exodus still takes the cake for the best metal return or reformation. - Ali "The Metallian"
EXODUS - THE ATROCITY EXHIBITION - EXHIBIT A - NUCLEAR BLAST
The prolific Exodus is back for another stab at thrashing and intense sounds and Nuclear Blast has consequently graced the reviewers with yet another 99-track, supposedly piracy-proof promo CD. The good news is that the yet again revamped Exodus has not lost the intensity of their previous two 21st-century releases. The opener Call To Arms is one true title as is the next song Riot Act. The clean but heavy production transmits the intensity well and here the guitar sound stands out as a good example for a thrash or death metal album production. Children Of A Worthless God starts in a somewhat melodic '80s mould and includes the always unnecessary clean Fear Factory-like vocals, although the overall intensity of the song is undeniable. As It Was, As It Soon Shall Be is another heavy thrash entry with Gary Holt contributing a classic heavy metal solo or two. The title track, Iconoclasm The Garden Of Bleeding and Bedlam 1-2-3 round up this rather politically themed release and all include enough brutal moments to confirm The Atrocity Exhibition’s place among the most aggressive, if nothing else, releases of the recent past. - Anna Tergel
EXODUS - LET THERE BE BLOOD - ZAENTZ
It is bad enough that bands don’t cease activity when a key member leaves or dies. Mayhem continuing without Euronymous, a Rainbow band without Ritchie Blackmore, Thin Lizzy touring without Lynott or Judas Priest without Rob Halford has shown the folly of many a metal band. Matters are worse now that the trend of covering one’s own songs has reached its apex.
It is a tribute to Exodus’ 1985 debut, Bonded By Blood, that the band has deemed it worthy of rerecording (albeit with a new singer) 24 years later. One hopes the Bay Area thrashers make some money off it this time, but is that justification for the re-release? What message does that send regarding the band’s song writing abilities in 2008? Does new singer Rob Dukes feel like he is in Exodus or in the leading Exodus tribute/cover band?
The truth is that Bonded By Blood is a great album that slams to this day. The album, however, featured the dead and buried singer Paul Baloff. It cannot be duplicated. The other truth is that any album that is worthy of being covered again - sorry rerecorded - by the band should best be left alone. That is one sure-fire way of knowing with confidence that a certain song or record needs to be left alone and that it cannot be rematched. Exodus, with its worthy, post-reformation albums should have especially taken heed. Of course, Bonded By Blood is such an intense album instrumentally and vocally and it is no exception on this rerecording. The band gives its instruments a workout. Dukes’ vocals are slightly out of place and the rhythm guitar is rather atonal. Still, the drum sounds killer (production-wise), the lead guitars rip and the bass is given a sharp sound as well as room to shine. The production cannot be faulted overall. The album, by the way, includes a song called Hell’s Breath stemming from 1983, which not many would have heard before.
Metallica would never rerecord its debut, Kill 'Em All. As wimped and washed out as those hacks are, they are smart enough to know that they cannot and would not match their debut these many years later. That, partly, explains why Metallica are millionaires and Exodus is not. - Ali “The Metallian”