Death In Vain
Patrick Stott | Rolleston, Canterbury, New Zealand | 12/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many an old school thrash fan will tell you Slayer's 'Reign In Blood' is the pinnacle of thrash's achievements, the perfect blend of aggression, speed and metallic rage. Others will cite Dark Angel's 'Darkness Descends'. Personally, I prefer Exhorder's 'Slaughter in The Vatican' to both of those albums.Where 'Reign...' is often too fast for it's own good, and 'Darkness...' suffers from poor production, 'Slaughter In The Vatican' is everything good thrash should be- heavy, fast, uncompromising and vicious. Exhorder come from New Orleans, the home of much violent and twisted music, and for sheer headbutt you in the face, kick you in the head nastiness, Exhorder is hard to beat. If you think this is just hype, consider the fact that one of the band members was once jailed for attacking another. We're not talking handbags at dawn, but kicking down his door, shotgun in hand, intending to kill.Thankfully, guitarist Vinnie LaBella's attempt to kill drummer Chris Nail was unsuccessful. If it had been, some of the most inspiring extreme thrash ever recorded would not have ever emerged from the Louisiana bayou. By now, Exhorder virgins are probably wondering "but what the hell makes it so good?" To be honest, it's hard to tell exactly, but a combination of factors adds up to a final product far greater than the sum of its parts.Probably the first thing you notice about Exhorder is the rhythm guitar sound. The word chainsaw comes to mind. A chainsaw with guitar pick ups attached, trying to cut through half inch steel plating, that is. Next are the drums. As hard hitting as anything Dave Lombardo or Gene Hoglan has ever produced, Chris Nail's performance stomps all over both of them. Coming from New Orleans with it's fine Cajun and jazz traditions, it was inevitable Nail's surroundings would have an influence on his style. The off beat syncopation and deft drum fills here almost have you hitting the rewind button to hear them again, so you can check you really heard what you think you heard. Unlike other drummers who mix up styles, Nail loses none of his brutality, nor does any of the time changes and the like distract from the overall effect.Kyle Thomas's throat shredding vocals are reminiscent of a more tuneful Roger Miret (Agnostic Front). Rather than barking tunes about hardcore unity though, Exhorder deal in a hatred of organised religion, violence and um... literature. The album title conveys a bit of the band's disdain for the church, but rather than descending into comic book Satanism like Deicide, the lyrics are pure venomous hatred. "Desecrator" is the pick of the whole album. It is the perfect mix of brutality, both musically and lyrically, and builds from a threatening, moody intro to an out and out hardcore thrash-out by the end of the song. "Anal Lust" and "Homicide" are pure violence. The rest of the album seems to be inspired by Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft.While Exhorder were overlooked during their career, several years down the track their influence has been recognised. Their albums now command many times their original price when sold second hand. If you have not heard the band, you may think it is all hype. If you are familiar with the band, then you'll understand fully."
Pantera WISHES they were this cool
Metal Hitman | U S and A | 12/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, I do find Pantera enjoyable. I'm not gonna knock 'em for their mainstream success, I'm not like that at all, and it's truly a shame that we lost Dime. However, Pantera does NOT match up to the awesomeness of Exhorder. Their debut is by far the most INTENSE thrash album of the 90's, maybe of all time. I mean, this is some great stuff! The guitar tone is up there with the Heaviest and Thickest I've ever heard, and it attacks you like a angry mob with chainsaws. The drumming is pummeling, puts an amazing effect on the overall brutality of the albums, Chris Nail will crush your Head! Kyle's voice has a full tank of High-test testosterone, he cetainly brings on the anger that makes this album so exciting. And don't even get me started on the RIFFS. There are so friggin many!! And they go into those brutal Thrash breaks at the PERFECT time (not like your average mediocre metalcore band that goes to a breakdown every 4 seconds). Without question in my top 5 albums. If you are looking for brutal metal with catchy riffs and adrenaline pumping choruses, then you have found your path, my friend. Slaughter in the Vatican is all you need. This was a time before the NOLA scene got stale."