Patrick Stott | Rolleston, Canterbury, New Zealand | 12/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Following up an amazing debut album is no easy task for any band. Debuts generally contain songs that the band has been perfecting for years up until their first album is recorded. After that, in many cases like Annihilator, Forbidden, Xentrix, Body Count and numerous others, the cupboard is bare. A weaker second album follows a strong debut, and everyone is disappointed. Not Exhorder.Many fans of the band prefer 'The Law' to 'Slaughter In The Vatican', and with good reason. Where the first album was unbridled aggression vented in all directions, 'The Law' keeps organised religion squarely in the crosshairs.Some of the sharp edges evident in the first album have been filed down. The guitar sound loses a little of the raw chainsaw quality before, but is heavier, and fuller in the bottom end. Kyle Thomas' vocals have far more melody to them. That's not to say he sounds any less angry, but Thomas actually runs through some good melodies. Exhorder were kind of Spinal Tap-like when it came to bass players. To that end, guitarists LaBella and Ceravolo played all the bass on the first album, and all but one track on the second. Their new bass player, Franky Sparcello played an amazing slap bass backing track to "Un-Born Again", which was all he had time for after joining the band in the middle of recording. At the time, there was a big trend toward so-called "funk metal", but this didn't follow the trend. Far from being a plain bass track, slapped instead of picked, Sparcello runs up and down the fretboard with incredible dexterity, augmenting Chris Nail's jazz thrash drumming. Unfortunately, that's all Sparcello ever recorded with Exhorder.There are a number of highlights on this album, even for a band as impressive as this. There is a hint at Kyle Thomas' post-Exhorder stoner/doom band, in the form of an excellent cover of Black Sabbath's "Into The Void". "Unforgiven" is an exercise in dynamics, using pace and rhythm to excellent effect. Never a band afraid of doing something different, the final two tracks are an instrumental in "Incontinence" and "(Cadence Of) The Dirge" which is well, a dirge. It is a bleak, oppressive song, displaying dark emotions of hopelessness, sorrow and self-pity.While lost in the flood of Floridan Death Metal and the emerging Seattle Grunge explosion, Exhorder really missed the recognition they deserved at the time, and self-destructed after the recording of 'The Law'. However, their influence and importance has been recognised since. Perhaps because the band quit with a solid body of only two albums behind them, they had not tarnished their reputation. Personally, I would have liked to have heard a third or fourth album, further incorporating the jazz, funk, stoner, doom and any number of other elements, just to see what would have happened."
The heaviest thrash album of all time?
Patrick Stott | 12/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Exhorder's Slaughter in the Vatican was a very good effort. But The Law is just amazing. I bought it when it first came out and it might still get my vote for heaviest album of all time. Into the Void is certainly the best cover tune I've ever heard. Holy smokes is it brutal! Exhorder's rhythm guitar sound is just the epitome of heaviness. It has the right mix of distortion and raspiness while still sounding incredibly tight. If you like extremely heavy thrash/speed, this one's for you."
Harrowing a Darker Time
Laqudis | Hillsdale Mi. | 05/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are unfamiliar with Exhorder, and are fans of thrash music..you have done a great disservice to yourself. Exhorder were a highly influential act. Pantera for one copied their sound and were huge fans of this band. The Law is by far one of the most crushing albums next to Reign in Blood that that has come out in the last 10yrs... But this album"
This is such a PISSED OFF ALBUM.
JMF | ca | 07/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"if there's anything i'd say about exhorder's "the law," it'd only be good things to say. sure, a lot of people don't even KNOW about exhorder, much less listen to them, but these guys have really left an indelible mark on the post-thrash/groove metal scene that really isn't recognized.
vocals: on EVERY SINGLE SONG, kyle thomas sounds like he just killed a 6' 5" 270lb body builder. newcomers and softies will probably hate his screams, shrieks, and growls, but it actually complements the music VERY well, and gives it a really ANGRY feel that a lot, and i mean A LOT, of metal albums/bands don't have.
guitars: the guitars could've used a little less distortion/treble to distinguish between each note, but i'd have to say that each riff was very well placed, and very well written.
drumming: if you didn't think the album was interesting (shame on you), THIS is where exhorder makes the real distinction: the drum grooves. most thrash is just a simple kick-snare drum configuration. chris nail, on the other hand, put in quite a few interesting rhythm parts on the drums that make the song either sludgy slow, or fiercely fast. but all in all, a REALLY good mix of using the entire kit is evident throughout the album.
altogether: the album has balance to it: there are even little acoustic guitar interludes and slow songs to even out the distribution of the album's songs. and the production is swell; no instrument overpowers the other on this album. go out and buy it, and don't listen to what another reviewer, s. franke, had to say about them: "pantera wanna-bes"!"