Exumer - The Raging Tides - (9.5/10)
Published on February 3, 2016
Raging Tides of Thrash!!!!
Making it to album number four and their second post-reunion record, German thrashers Exumer continue to expand upon their strong run of releases that started back in the 80s before it got interrupted by their break-up and main-man Mem von Steine’s other projects in the scene, some being quite good in his thrash act Sun Descends while Humungous Fungus is rightly forgotten, but this project has always been his and he leads his cohorts through this rough and raging slab of high-quality thrash. Marking the recording debut of guitarist Marc Bräutigam who takes for the deceased Holger Kolb, this is as tight and focused as the band has sounded in ages.
As is to be expected here, the album is simply a straightforward blast of old-school inspired thrash that whips and zips through tight, intense collections of rhythms without much deviation throughout here and in turn making this tight, frantic and utterly raging throughout here. Other strong thrashers here range from the blistering ‘Catatonic’ with its furious and frantic riff-work keeping their simplistic punk roots firmly in place, ‘Welcome to Hellfire’ which features some rather tight, raging riff-work and ‘Sinister Souls’ which just barrels through so many speed barriers with furious energy it serves as the album’s highlight despite all the other great tracks elsewhere here. These here are all fast, furious and rather frantic tracks that wouldn’t have been out-of-place on their older classics, really bringing home the competent feel that’s been a part of their style throughout the various stages of their career and is mostly a strong reason for the success of this one as they balance out more melodic fare of ‘Sacred Defense’ or ‘Shadow Walker’.
While this gets so much out of these raging, up-tempo thrashers, the one small problem that keeps this from a perfect release is the album’s rather straight-forward approach. It’s simple-man’s thrash without many change-ups throughout here, offering a faster tempo track if the opening riff starts off up-tempo or being a more melodic effort if there’s a mid-tempo riff to be found, and in each case this one riff is driven around throughout the track without much change here. This here quickly results in many tracks being quite similar-sounding to each other rather quickly with there being quite a few tracks here that sound alike simply due to being played in the same basic tempo and format. Granted, it’s all part of the bands’ formula which hasn’t changed much since their foundation, and they’re awfully good at it with so many fun, blistering efforts throughout this, but nit-picking at flaws does highlight this issue.
The last part here is a couple of bonus cover tracks for the special edition versions, and are what to be expected from other tracks not on every main release. The first cover here for Pentagram’s ‘Forever My Queen’ which is highly problematic with the slow, droning pace conflicting wildly with their intense, speed-drenched original works with the riffing keeping this one somewhat enjoyable as there’s some solid patterns in the solo section but overall doesn’t really sound much like the band at all. Their Grip Inc. cover of ‘Hostage to Heaven’ is much better with a more furious tempo and pounding rhythms throughout here making this one far more up-tempo and ripping but also manages to stick out with the use of lighter guitar-work that isn’t as tight and ends up much more technical than their more usual works. While this is a special bonus for fans it certainly sticks out as a whole, but otherwise it’s the similarity being only issue holding this one back.
Overall, this here is a ripping and engaging thrash effort that comes from one of the most undervalued and underappreciated efforts in the scene and hopefully this ripping release changes that as that’s two strong releases in a row for the group proving their comeback wasn’t a fluke at all and making this a solid, essential choice for Teutonic thrash aficionados or old-school thrash in general.