“Bonded By Blood” maybe viewed as one of the most influential Thrash Metal releases of all time (and rightfully so in my opinion) but more often then not most Metalheads don’t know much of EXODUS since 1985. When in fact, their sophomore effort “Pleasures Of The Flesh” is a very solid outing that shows a slightly different side of the band.
EXODUS, as a whole, approaches song writing a little differently this time around. Not quite the balls out Thrashers as before, “Pleasures Of The Flesh” has the band added quite a bit of groove to their sound (something that most likely detracted many of the fans of their first album). “Till Death Do Us Part” ends on a very chunky note. Gary Holt (guitars) begins playing with some slower riffs that are just thundering. But that doesn’t mean that they lost their Thrash abilities. “Parasite” and “Choose Your Weapon” are still those blistering tracks that even the most elitist of Thrashers love. The band does experiment outside of just more structured tracks and groove – the tribal introduction to the self titled track leads into one of EXODUS’ best song writing efforts and even the very prominent bass lines of “Brain Dead” are a little more than what one would expect. But it all fits in nicely and builds into a very crafty experience for the album.
The most notable difference for “Pleasures Of The Flesh” is the arrival of singer Steve Souza. He may not have had the awesome energy of Paul Baloff on their previous album, but Souza’s odd and uniquely harsh crooning is quite memorable. He does add an odd touch of tongue-in-cheek flavor to the EXODUS equation that sets him further apart from the original singer. Many fans might find this cheesy and ridiculous for a Thrash band, but he feels right at home with most of Gary Holt’s song writing and really sets himself apart.
This may not have the influential stamina or the pure heart of their first album, but “Pleasures Of The Flesh” is a massively underrated album that deserves some recognition. More experimental and cleaner sounding (thank God they were able to pull better production values!) this sophomore effort is a great addition to any Metalheads collection. Although you may want to escape the odd melodic interlude “30 Seconds” just to keep the album going.
Songs to check out: “Parasite”, “Pleasures Of The Flesh”, “Chemi-kill”.
(Online June 26, 2008)