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Saturday 19 March 2016

A View From The Back Of The Room: Exodus (Live Review By Paul)

Exodus - The Globe

With aching necks and ringing in the ears from Machine Head’s monumental performance the night before, we dragged our aching carcasses to The Globe for more Bay Area thrash. I’m so glad I did as we were treated to another stunning evening of top drawer metal.

A few weeks ago I picked up support band Lost Society’s third album Braindead. (the review is posted on the site) This release was sufficient to ensure that I got into place in time for the Finns to hit the stage in a frenzy of hyperactivity. Led by the energetic Samy Elbanna, the band ripped through a very quick passing 40 minutes of quality thrash which incited early pit action, much head banging and a hugely receptive response from the assembled throng. With insane shredding courtesy of Arttu Lesonen and Elbanna and the intense and excellent drumming of Ossi Paananen, Lost Society delivered tracks from their three albums with a decent serving from Braindead including the stomp of I Am The Antidote. The band possess huge reserves of energy and this had a symbiotic effect on the intensity in the crowd which surged ever higher as the set moved on. Lost Society were thoroughly entertaining, with an infectious groove and blitzkrieg approach. 8/10

At their last appearance at BOA in 2013 thrash titans Exodus more than held their own on a day that also included Anthrax and Slayer. Since then we’ve witnessed the return of Steve “Zetro” Souza and the release of the excellent Blood In Blood Out. The Globe was at full capacity for the arrival of the band who arrived on stage with no pomp or ceremony (although it is virtually impossible to do anything other than fall on stage at The Globe) and proceeded to set the scene for the evening with Black 13, the opener from their latest release.

Although Gary Holt has been absent from this tour due to his Slayer commitments, you wouldn’t have noticed as his able replacement Kragen Lum from Heathen shredded and thrashed with similar aplomb. In fact, if you didn’t know that Holt was a member of the band you’d have been none the wiser. Blood In Blood Out followed, the second of four tracks to be played. Cue stellar audience participation on the choruses and frenzied head banging throughout the venue. In fact, the crowd was excellent throughout the gig and Souza made several references to the loudness of the assembled throng in front of him.

One of the great things about The Globe is that everything is up close and personal wherever you are and I reflected that my only regret about the gig was that it should have been in a much bigger venue. Exodus are a superb band, with Tom Hunting’s drumming on a par with Gene Hoglan in my opinion. As the gig developed, the band spliced old classics with the newer material. And Then There Were None was just brutal, whilst the sole track from The Atrocity Exhibition – Exhibit A, Children Of A Lesser God was fantastic. Alongside Souza, bassist Jack Gibson’s expression rarely changed, content to focus on laying down the rampaging bass lines. Lee Altus’s razor sharp guitar work and constant mouthing of the lyrics demanded that you joined in.

Salt The Wound (with a nod to the solo that Kirk Hammett contributed to) and Body Harvest were the other choice cuts from Blood In Blood Out before it was time for old school and even higher levels of intensity in the pit. Metal Command got things moving, starting a trio of brutality from Bonded By Blood. Piranha and the incredible A Lesson In Violence were succeeded by three from Tempo Of The Damned; Firstly, Blacklist, then a blistering War Is My Shepherd and then the set closing destruction of Impaler. During the set Souza paid a massive tribute to Lemmy which was warmly welcomed by the audience and prompted a spontaneous round of chanting of the great man’s name. Well played sir.

Whilst the band took a deserved breather, the crowd steeled itself for the inevitable and highly anticipated encores. As Exodus tore into a breath-taking Bonded By Blood, it seemed that 90% of the audience was swirling around the floor. Of course, if you want a tune to really get things moving, look no further than The Toxic Waltz which maintained the action on the floor. Strike Of The Beast concluded the evening and the band left the stage to huge applause.

After the gig Steve Souza spent time with the fans, answering questions and happily having photos taken. A genuinely pleasant and engaging man, when asked about a new release, he was extremely positive and noted that it would happen when Holt returned from Slayer duties. For a band now well into the veteran stage, this is heartening news and if they can maintain the form of the last release, not to mention the incredible levels of live performance, I’ll be picking up tickets to see these guys whenever they hit our shores. A fantastic evening and a quite spectacular end to a heavy heavy week. 9/10

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